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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By Tom Jackson
Published January 25, 2006

WORLD GROOVE
Putumayo

Some of the lyrical subject matter here is pretty heavy stuff: there’s racism and isolation in Cheb Mami’s “Parisien du Nord, pollution in Issa Bagayogo’s “Nogo” and abusive relationships in Brenda Fassie’s “Ama-Gents.” But it’s the grit in the oyster that makes the pearl, and this is a shiny, chirrupy Saturday morning of a record, a lustrous mosaic of upbeat, highly-produced tunes plundered from the crossover end of the world music racks. Some of the tracks—Turk Mustafa Sandal’s eurosmash “Aya Benzer” or Lebanese Ragheb Alama’s cheesy pop “Sahrony Leil”—have already featured in pop charts, while the French DJ collaborations (Rouge Rouge and Major Boys) feel rather more like they were specifically crafted for compilations just like this one. If you’re comfortable with spending 44 minutes up to your elbows in the global mishmash—and why shouldn’t you be?—you’ll be more than satisfied. Don’t think about it, just jiggle your way through this soundtrack to the washing up.