Following two excellent children's collections of African and Latin music, respectively, this well-curated Rough Guide compilation is aimed at listeners in mid-childhood (ages seven through 11), who have outgrown kiddie records but may not be ready for more adult fare. That said, there's nothing condescending or particularly childish about any of the tracks here, except that they tend toward the uplifting and they reflect the kind of diversity of style and culture that savvy parents will want to display to their offspring. From the soul-stirring acoustic pop of British duo Chris While & Julie Matthews to the funky Mongolian folk of Beijing's Hanggai, the track list is a sonic world tour of indigenous sounds. Other standout tracks include the bubbly "Bula Bula" by Mozambique's Mabulu and the life-affirming "Brasil em Brasa" by Brazilan group Roge. The Amsterdam Klezmer Band's track may incite lively discussions among budding musicologists about the link between klezmer and reggae. A groovy remix of Dean Martin's "Mambo Italiano" -- guaranteed to cause an outbreak of smiles and dancing -- kicks off a bonus disc of super-infectious dance tracks by an array of international artists. Neither kids nor adults will be able to remain seated when they hear the Spam All-Stars play "Charanga E-350."
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AllMusic Review by Paula Carino
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2