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At the dinner party, one of my guests—referring to the “mood” music—turns from dessert and asks, “Is that ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star?” I smile and nod. Seven tracks later, a guest asks, “Why are we listening to ‘Brahms’ Lullaby’?,” to which I sweetly reply, “Because it’s time for you to go home.”
The “Truth in Reviewing Act,” to which all reviewers subscribe, forces me to admit that the conversation above never took place. Nor did the dinner party—since relocating to the mountains, there have been no dinner parties. I can fantasize, can’t I? The truth is that I've got a new album that makes wonderful background music for whatever.
February 28, 2012, marks the release of Putumayo Kids Presents Instrumental Dreamland, a collection of soothing-not-boring music designed “for relaxation and bedtime.” While the lovely acoustic instrumentals on the album are relaxing, I hesitate to recommend the album for children only. It provides an enjoyable listening experience to people of all ages. However, the inclusion of the two earlier-mentioned tracks does brand it as KidTunes.
The opening track on Instrumental Dreamland is a delightfully simple rendition of “What a Wonderful World,” performed by American musician Damien Erwin. This collection of world music includes selections from Brazil (“O Filho Que Eu Quero Ter,” Reginaldo Frazatto, Jr.), Japan (“Lullaby,” Masahiro Nitta), Mali (“Kouyate,” Balla Tounkara), and Ireland (“The Lark,” Seamus Egan), as well as several others from the United States: “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” Michael Allen Harrison; “Bressay Lullaby/Don Oiche,” Sue Richards and Maggie Sansone; “Pupu Hinuhinu (Shiny Shell Lullaby),” Keola Beamer; “Hand in Hand,” Tony Ellis, “Honu’s Dream,” Kohala and Jake Shimabukuro; and “Brahms’ Lullaby,” Victor Johnson
Instrumental Dreamland is an excellent choice for naptime and bedtime, providing a calming soundtrack to gently lull little ones to sleep, but is also appropriate for mealtime, quiet time, and all the times when our kids (or we) don’t need to be stimulated or overstimulated. As much as we enjoy rockin’ KidTunes, there are times when they just aren’t appropriate.
Instrumental Dreamland is the sixth album in the Dreamland series, and the first all-instrumental collection. The music selected, according to Putumayo founder Dan Storper, was “chosen for [its] calming effect and appeal to children and adults alike.” Do you think Mr. Storper would be surprised to learn it also works for overly-anxious canines, too?