Top 5 African Albums For Kids

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One of the greatest things about music is its ability to be used as a window to other cultures and languages. Especially in the pre-verbal stage, kids are really open to all sorts of different vocal sounds, and it's great to expose them to as many as possible. We've always been big fans of Africa's music in our household, with my wife spending a summer in Uganda assisting a group of ethnomusicologists as a younger woman, and here are some of our favorite artists from the continent. Kanda Bongo Man - The Best Of Congolese soukous music is some of the most exciting, infectious dance music ever performed. Anchored by complex, lilting guitar figures, chanted vocals and driving percussion, it's guaranteed to get even the most surly little bottom wiggling. Kanda Bongo Man is one of the country's most venerable performers, and you can't go wrong with anything he's recorded. Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Gift Of The Tortoise South Africa's most famous vocal group has released a score of albums, but this collection of traditional Zulu songs is one of their most accessible.  1994's Gift Of The Tortoise was nominated for a Grammy and features cuts like Kanje Kanje and Thekwane, all laced together with narration from Gcina Mhlophe. King Sunny Ade - Odu The Nigerian juju master is one of those African artists who has found success on the world stage, and for good reason - his ludicrously infectious music takes from a wide range of influences to create a unique hybrid that is energetic, intense and fun. Seprewa Kasa - Seprewa Kasa One of the most engaging features of African music is the variety of unusual instruments at play. One such device is the seprewa, a gut-strung harp used in Ghanan Highlife music. This 2008 release features guitarist Kari Banaman playing with a number of seprewa masters to knock out an unstoppable plate of danceable jams. Fela Kuti - Zombie The Nigerian music legend Fela Kuti was one of the most politically volatile musicians of all time, with his uncompromising music bringing him in conflict with the powers that be over and over again. Zombie, one of his greatest albums, was a veiled attack on the Nigerian military oppressors in the guise of an irresistible Afrobeat album. Like most of Fela's records, it contains just two long songs, but both are absolute classics.   P.S. It's the last day to enter to win our new Lullaby Renditions of Queen CD! Contest ends today at noon, pst.

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