I am a longtime fan of Putumayo, and I’ve recently discovered the Putumayo Kids series. So glad I did! It’s the best kids’ music I have had the pleasure to enjoy. Since it’s such a unique series, I asked Mona Kayhan, Director of Putumayo Kids, a few questions about these popular and musically fulfilling CD’s.
dkM: What inspired Putumayo to branch out into kid’s music?
Mona: It all started with World Playground, which was the first kids-oriented CD Putumayo World Music released over ten years ago. World Playground is a great collection of global songs that take children on a musical journey to faraway places where they can be introduced to other people and places around the world. Because it was so wildly successful, we realized there is a market for great world music that kids could enjoy. Shortly thereafter, we established Putumayo Kids and have since developed a collection that educates and entertains kids as well as their parents. Now we’re one of the leading children’s record labels in the world!
dkM: How does Putumayo make the decision about what songs to include on their CD’s? It seems you must have an overwhelming resource to choose from, considering the creative wealth of artists you work with!
Mona: Putumayo Kids CDs have that magical combination of being entertaining and educational at the same time. The international music selection contributes to the education of future global citizens while holding true to Putumayo’s mission of sharing music that is “guaranteed to make you feel good.” We’re fortunate enough to receive thousands of submissions of music from around the world. We also actively hunt for music by traveling around the world but also by doing extensive online research. From there, the Putumayo Kids music team chooses songs with child-friendly lyrics and rhythms by both renowned and undiscovered international artists. The collections of songs are then tested with our staff, schools and with families.
dkM: What are some future projects you are looking into for Putumayo Kids?
Mona: Putumayo Kids is full of possibilities for the future. We have only just begun tapping into the world and still have a long list we’d like to tackle! In July, we are coming out with Picnic Playground, a really fun album featuring food-themed songs from all around the world. In November, we will be releasing Jazz Playground, which will be a great genre to introduce little ones to.
dkM: What has been the response so far to the Putumayo Kids CD’s already released?
Mona: Incredible! Parents and teachers constantly thank us for providing them with a great way to introduce children to other cultures around the world. We have built an incredible fan base that anxiously awaits our next releases. We have won awards from organizations including Parents’ Choice, National Parenting Publication, Teachers’ Choice, Scholastic, American Library Association, etc.
Thanks to Mona for a great interview. And a special thanks to Putumayo Kids for enriching and educating our children through their world of music!