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World Music CD Reviews Africa

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By MARIE ELSIE ST. LÉGER
Published April 7, 2006

AN AFRO-PORTUGUESE ODYSSEY
Putumayo World Music

This time out Putumayo visits the legacy of Portugal’s colonization, traveling the African continent. The 13-song collection hits Angola (Paul Flores’s snappy “Zé Inácio”) and Cape Verde (“Africa Mamâe,” a mournful coladeira by Jovino Do Santos), stays for an extended tour of Guinea-Bissau (Dulce Neves’s swaying “N’Tchancha” and Eneida Marta’s lamenting “Na Bu Mons” among the five tracks), then travels down to Mozambique (“Maldeyeni,” by newly resurgent marrabente group Mabulu). The connections, both rhythmic (traditional African percussion) and instrumental (guitars and violins), are obvious: Wisps of Cape Verde’s coladeira breeze through Eneida Marta’s mournful ballad. More interesting, however, is the continuing cross-pollination between former European colonies. Hear the echoes of Haiti’s kompas in Banda Maravilha’s “Canta Forte” (Angola), Cuba’s Juan-Carlos Formell coo his son via the guitars of Manecas Costa and “Ermons di Terra” (Guinea-Bissau), and the Afro-Peruvian 3/4 time in Bidinte’s “Considjo di Garandis” (Guinea-Bissau). This Odyssey is notable not for the success of its music—Putumayo has the world music compilation down pat—but for the inadvertent accidental-tourist vibe, a happy and welcome consequence.