Published Oct 01, 2005The Rough Guide To African Music For Children is a refreshing change from most kids-oriented releases. This comp isn't the product of a hundred focus groups and child psychologists it's a top-notch collection of African tunes that's a great listen for both kids and parents. Over one thousand British school kids, aged 5 to 11, were given the impossibly cool class project of selecting their favourite tracks from dozens of choices provided by the World Music Network label. What resulted is a sophisticated and deeply funky mix of old and new tracks, from Tony Allen's futuristic Afrobeat to Alemayehu Eshete's vintage Ethiopop. The real highlights of the disc are a couple of top-ranking hip-hop tracks from Nigeria's JJC & 419 Squad and Tanzania's X Plastaz, about whom one student raved: "Amazing! Better than Usher." When's the last time anyone said that about Raffi?