Sesame Street: Putamayo Kids Around
by John Oseid
Nobody ever shared the wonders of South African Township Jazz with me when I was in preschool. By grade school, I'd still never heard a Hindi or a Russian song. If only Putumayo Kids' Sesame Street Playground compilation had been around when I was a tyke...
What would Sesame Street be without visuals? The brand new album comes with a five-video DVD set showing versions of the famous children's show from around the world. With Christmas not far away, I'm ordering early for my nieces and nephews. Sesame Street isn't kid-exclusive, though: The DVDs are a hoot for adults, too. Here's a quick sampler:
The video to my favorite tune, the "Pollution Song," from South Africa's Takalani Sesame is a sweet introduction to the magnificent sounds of that nation. "Take the papers and throw them in the dustbin," sing human and puppet characters as they clean up their streets.
In India, the name of the show is Galli Galli Sim Sim, as is the theme music sung in Hindi. The French call their version 5, Rue Sésame. Who knows where the "cinq" comes from, but the goofy song "La Chanson de l'Amitié" should disprove any canard about French sullenness. The characters in Tanzania's show, Kilimani Sesame, teach about health and hygiene as they sing their lovely Kiswahili tune "Usihuzunike," or the "Don't Be Sad Song."
And lastly, a special mention goes to Mexico's Plaza Sésamo (there's even a Parque Plaza Sésamo theme park in Monterrey, should you want to hang with Bert and Ernie's global cousins). Mexican wunderkind singer/songwriter Aleks Syntek, whom I shared with you last month, composed a tune called "Ricas Frutas," or "Delicious Fruits," which he sings with a giant parrot named Abelardo and a pink girl named Lola. The tasty little tune had me humming about bananas all day.