Out With The Kids 1 Year Anniversary Party – Contest #5 (Putuyamo Kids "Animal Playground")

We have come to the 5th and final OWTK Anniversary Party Contest. Remember that entries will still be accepted until 11:59pm (Eastern Time) on Tuesday May 29th 2007 for all 5 contests. Links to the individual contest posts are below. Thanks for reading along and participating!

OWTK 1 Year Anniversary Party – Contest #5

The Prize – A three CD gift pack from Putumayo Kids. The lucky winner will receive the new Animal Playground disc, along with the wonderful New Orleans Playground and French Playground CDs (a $45 value!!!! – as they say on infomercials).

The Instructions – Click Here and find the name of the Water Taxi we used while in Paris last year. And then read the OWTK review of Animal Playground (below) to find out what one-name artist (it’s not Cher) is headlining the big summer tour to support the Animal Playground release.
Email the answers (with OWTK Contest #5 in the subject line) to: OutWithTheKids@comcast.net before 11:59pm ET on Tuesday May 29th 2007. Don’t worry about your email address, OWTK will never share it with anyone.

The Details – One winner will be selected at random on the last day of May. The lucky winner will receive the brand new Putumayo Kids Animal Playground CD along with the Putumayo Kids New Orleans and French Playground records. Your music package will arrive directly from Putumayo Kids.


Putumayo Kids’ Animal Playground “Playful Tracks from Around the World”

In 1983’s Strawberry Shortcake Housewarming Surprise, the leading lady’s Strawberry Land neighbors throw her a party to celebrate her new home. As a special surprise, they invite all the new friends (and their aptly-named pets) Strawberry Shortcake met during her recent globetrotting adventure. At the end of the movie, Strawberry gleefully sings “We’re having a party, an international party”. The Putumayo Kids’ “Animal Playground” disc (officially released today, May 22nd 2007) could have been the soundtrack for that party. Not because the baker’s dozen worth of kid-friendly tracks sounds dated by two decades (not at all), but because what this disc represents is the ultimate kids’ party if there were no oceans or geopolitical ties separating us.

In short, this collection of thirteen animal-inspired tunes is remarkable. I also make the connection to the famous redhead for another reason, because like those classic shows, this record is a slower paced affair then most modern children’s entertainment. No one track will floor you, with the notable exception of The Be Good Tanya’s delightful “The Littlest Birds” but that is for sheer beauty, not bombastic theatrics, yet the sum of “Animal Playground’s” parts is as pleasant a grouping of playful songs as you will ever hear.

A compilation is a difficult thing to make cohesive. By nature, design and definition they are the exact opposite, but Putumayo manages to do the impossible – make a compilation record, one which marries American folk with African rhythm and just about everything in between – feel unified. Helping bridge the cultural and stylistic gaps is the animal theme running through the album. Every kid loves animals and some of the most beloved creatures are covered here – birds, snakes, bears, monkeys, eagles, dinosaurs and more. The centralized theme makes this record feel warm, tight and familiar.

As I mentioned, The Be Good Tanya’s “The Littlest Birds” is a stellar track. It has not yet, however, struck my little girl’s fancy – despite it’s similarity with her favorite Elizabeth Mitchell tune, “Little Bird”. Her most requested cut is Asheba’s wonderful take on “No More Monkey’s” (for which there is also a video included on the CD). Asheba, coincidentally enough, is the centerpiece of a big summer tour in support of “Animal Playground”. The 27-date trek started in San Diego last week and concludes on the East Coast on June 23rd. Check here for a full list of dates and here to sample each track.

Like any good, slightly complex album, “Animal Playground” will most likely take some time to coalesce, and may require a few spins to fully appreciate. But when it comes together for you and your gang, the whole family will be singing along to Old MacDonald in Italian, wishing you had a dinosaur for a friend, feeling empathatic for snakes and htting the high notes whilst enjoying the impeccable Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s rendition of “Mbube”.

Enter the contest to win this terrific CD (plus two more Putumayo Kids releases!) or just go out and but it right now – it’s that good.

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