I really enjoy enriching my children’s lives by introducing them to different cultures and traditions. I was recently sent a book to review that allowed me to do just that. “Songs from the Baobab” is an enchanting book of African lullabies and nursery rhymes. This hardcover book includes a CD that stores inside the back cover. Representing 11 languages originating from Central and West Africa and brought to life with lavish illustrations, this collection’s rhymes and lullabies soothe babies and children to sleep as the songs travel from one country and one language to another. Lyrics are reproduced in the original language and translated into English, followed by notes on the origin and cultural context of each song. The accompanying CD features 29 songs from 10 countries—including Rwanda, the Ivory Coast, and Senegal—each one unique in language and sound, recorded with indigenous instruments and exquisitely performed by women, men, and children. This delightful, enchanting production captures the staccato rhythm of the children’s rhymes and the poetry of the language as well as a sense of the heritage and tradition of each culture.
This is a great book to share with your children. It is an excellent book for little ones who have been adopted from the countries represented, as it helps them identify and know the cultural songs and rhymes that are native to where they were born. This book and CD are also a great resource to use in school settings and tie in with lessons about different cultures and traditions. If your family shares their heritage with the cultures in this book you will absolutely love reading and singing the rhymes and songs with your children.
The book features colorful illustrations by Élodie Nouhen as well as full lyrics in the original languages, translated into English. A map and explanatory notes serve to make this an enchanting educational experience for adults as well as children.
Paris-based musician and educator Chantal Grosléziat recorded these pieces with singers from each culture. Paul Mindy arranged each piece with traditional instruments, including the kora, balafon, kalimba and rain sticks. The lullabies and rhymes make frequent references to animals and the natural world. For example, the Central African Republic lullaby “Dunga” urges the newborn to “take your strength from nature.” Family relationships, and in particular the loss of a parent, are find a place in these songs from cultures where disease, famine and war are part of everyday life. A song from Mauritania tells the baby, “your mother has gone to search for jujubes,” and a piece from Guinea evokes the sad fate of orphans, saying “Sali Wonde, nothing is eternal.”
The Secret Mountain is dedicated to the creation of children’s books, videos and music of the highest quality. The French imprint – La Montagne Secrète – is considered to be one of the most original and innovative children’s publishing houses in Canada and France. The company recently made its United States debut with music, DVDs and books. For more information, visit www.thesecretmountain.com.
This book and CD set makes a great gift this holiday season. Mommy Ramblings is adding it to our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide.
The Secret Mountain is sponsoring a give-away on Mommy Ramblings. One lucky blog reader will win their own “Songs from the Baobab” Book and CD. Thank you to the Secret Mountain for the review book set and for sponsoring this beautiful give-away on Mommy Ramblings!!! Open to US and Canadian residents.
Songs from the Baobab: African Lullabies & Nursery Rhymes Book & CD Give-Away on Mommy Ramblings:
Please enter the give-away using Rafflecopter below.