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by World Music Network August 30, 2011


New Rough Guide Albums: World Playtime and African Lullabies

30 August marks the release of two new Rough Guide albums: The Rough Guide To World Playtime and The Rough Guide To African Lullabies.  

These two compilations compliment each other perfectly. The cheerful energy of 'The Rough Guide To World Playtime' selection will have the whole family on their feet, dancing to delightlful ditties from all corners of the globe! Then bring it down a notch with our African lullaby collection, offering an array of sweetly serene songs to lull your little ones (and yourself!) to sleep. All bases covered! 

playtimeFrom clapping games to rhyming songs to dancing tunes, children all over the world while away their playtime making music. Children’s songs are an important link between generations and help to pass on language, history and culture. This Rough Guide features a delightful selection of music from diverse corners of the globe!

The Portuguese born singer Lura explores her Cape Verdean roots on the catchy song ‘Na Ri Na’. Her music is tinged with a softly lilting and mellow feel that riffs along at a calm pace.  A further West African angle is heard via the beautiful crisp articulations of the kora that make an appearance on the track, ‘Djou’ by Guinean instrumentalist Mory Kanté.The leading Brazilian songwriter Chico César’scontribution is ‘Soluço,’ an amusing light-hearted song about getting the hiccups – something many children can relate to! Whilst ‘Akata Sun Dunchi’ is a popular Okinawan children’s song about the moon. The version on this album is the result of a fruitful collaboration between Hawaiian guitar aficionado Bob Brozman and Japanese sanshin master Takashi Hirayasu. Akim El Sikameya began to study the violin in his childhood at the age of eight. Now a master of his art and a popular professional musician this track is dedicated to his own children. His daughter even harps into sing along on the sweet chorus of ‘Sa Majeste Lila’. Enjoy this outstanding collection bound to please both adults and children alike.

The bonus disc further features the legendary West African singer and excellent kora player Mory Kanté.


lullabiesMusic is an intrinsic part of life in Africa, and from the earliest age, the lullaby is used to sooth and calm children into quiet time and sleep. Featuring some of the biggest names in African music, 'The Rough Guide To African Lullabies' gently rocks listeners away in to blissful deep dreams with relaxing songs from Ethiopia, Mali, Zimbabwe and more.

South African a capella vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo are renowned for their velvety smooth harmonies and rich tone colours. On ‘Mbube (Wimoweh – The Lion Sleeps Tonight)’ the group sing out their seminal version of the well known African folksong. On ‘Malaika’ Miriam Makeba or ‘Mama Africa’ as she is affectionately known grooves along with her signature expressive vocals, slowly swinging percussion and tentatively trembling guitar lines. A worthy idol in every sense of the word, Makeba was a key player in South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement and the civil rights movements.

Cape Verdean Sara Tavares exposes her beautifully silky smooth voice on ‘Guisa’. Melancholic jazzy vocals slink away against a resonant acoustic guitar part with soulful emotion. The Somalian musician Saba intones her version of a traditional ancient lullaby on ‘Huwaiahuwa’. The track ‘Mother’s Love’ features Ethiopian-born composer and pianist Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou.

Stringed African instruments feature heavily on this album. Whether they are plucked, picked, frayed or strummed the collection spotlights a diverse array of music beautifully punctuated with flexing and releasing strings. Malian Ngoni maestro Bassekou Kouyaté appears with his ensemble Ngoni Ba on ‘Tabali Te’. Infamous kora player Toumani Diabate and the celebrated desert blues guitarist Ali Farka Touré contribute a lilting instrumental duet on track ‘Simbo’. The kora-led four pieces band Ba Cissoko from Guinea rock gently away on ‘Manssani’.

The bonus disc features instrumental mbira music from Virgina Mukwesha. The mbira is an ancient instrument from Zimbabwe. Mukwesha’s style produces soft humming tones that are pleasantly gentle in timbre and mood.