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World Music CD Reviews South Asia


Published April 7, 2006

Greensleeves Rhythm Album #30

For better or worse all popular music evolves, but when do record company executives forfeit the right to promote artists as part of a genre that might simply have been an influence? Does Kenny G play jazz? Is Faith Hill really a country singer? Likewise, some recent karaoke-style forms of reggae are to the Wailers as Wu-Tang Clan is to Sonny Til and the Orioles. It’s part of the same continuum, but new branches are sprouting very far from the roots. Bollywood is the 30th CD in this Greensleeves series (also available as a limited-edition double LP), but bona fide reggae fans can only wonder about its appeal. The Bollywood theme smacks of commercial exploitation and gimmickry. Each track leads with a sampling of Hindi film singer Lata Mangeshkar (also sampled on Truth Hurts’ “Addictive”), which is then quickly usurped by the hardcore dancehall riddims of Capleton, Beenie Man, Mr. Vegas, Sizzla and Elephant Man, among others. The warning about x-rated lyrics is close to irrelevant because even the patois is unintelligible. For true fans only, whoever they are.