Putumayo's compilations of children's music are such reliable standbys in the genre, so consistently good, that I end up never writing about them. I realize that doesn't sound as if it makes any sense, but it does: It's not because I take them for granted, exactly, but because I have this feeling everyone knows about them already. So in my mind, it's as if I were recommending this really great toy called Legos.
This, however, is not only not fair, it's not true. As I can still recall (when I try) from the days before I began covering kids' entertainment, it's entirely possible in the whirlwind that is being a parent to know about precisely nothing that came out after one's own childhood.
So let me take advantage of the approaching Christmas season to point out Putumayo's latest output, Celtic Christmas, a collection of 11 traditional Yuletide carols in, yes, Celtic renditions that range from peppy and energetic (David Huntsinger's take on "Angels We Have Heard on High") to dreamy and pensive (the French carol "Noel Nouvelet," beautifully performed by the only-seemingly-named-by-Jack-Black group DruidStone; my three-year-old insists on putting this track on repeat every time he hears it). There's even a Gaelic rendition of "White Christmas," aptly enough sung by Lasaidfhíona Ní Chonaola. Like just about every Putumayo kids' collection I've heard, Celtic Christmas is suitably atmospheric—in this case setting the perfect seasonal tone—while also featuring top-notch musicians throughout.
[Cover image courtesy of Putumayo]