By Putumayo Kids
Years ago, before the advances of modern technology gave us MP3 players and video phones, people used to get together with family and friends to make music. Gathered around the fireplace or sitting on the front porch, people of all ages would pull out instruments and sing traditional songs that had been passed down from previous generations. Parents learned from grandparents and children learned from parents. In this manner, a circle was created and the music was preserved for future generations to know, learn and love. This is the very essence of folk music, and its legacy continues on Folk Playground, a family recording from Putumayo Kids.
In the 1950s and 60s, many songs that had survived the passing of time found renewed life and meaning for a new generation of performers and audiences. Singers like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Odetta and others were part of this popular revival and many of the people who sing on Folk Playground grew up listening to their songs. As adults, these musicians have continued the folk music tradition by performing their own versions of classic songs or by writing new ones inspired by those songs.
Some of these musicians can trace their roots directly back to the folk family tree: Erib Bibb is the son of famous folk singer Leon Bibb. He is joined by Michael Jerome Browne on a folk//blues song “Just Look Up.” They are joined by Elizabeth Mitchell, Jon Gailmor, Victor Johnson and Trout Fishing in America, who have devoted their careers to performing folk songs for children and adults.
Like some of their predecessors, several musicians on Folk Playground have taken different routes to the folk scene. Dan Zanes, Laurie Berkner, Justin Roberts and Brady Rymer traveled rock and roll roads before taking a turn down the path of kids’ music and folk songs. Zoe Lewis has flown all over the world before landing in Massachusetts to sing about “Sheep.” Still others are even more unlikely wanderers onto the scene: Retro pioneer Leon Redbone reaches back into time for his version of “Polly Wolly Doodle” and Michelle Shocked pulls a few strings to bring us her cover of “Got No Strings” from the animated Disney classic, Pinocchio.