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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

WORLD 2004

By Marty Lipp


Patrolling the world and looking for great music is a big job, but Charlie Gillett has the world beat. A longtime BBC DJ, for the past few years Gillet has been releasing a series of annual two-disc sets that are culled from his regular playlists. Like the others, the latest is an eclectic collection that presumably Gillet loves and thinks you will too. As varied as the discs are, they have a surprising amount of duds. While one might wish he divided them up by mood -- slow and fast, for example -- the constantly changing mix feels like a good radio show: constantly surprising and intriguing enough to make listeners want to keep on listening, even when the musical program has ended. If there's a bias here, it seems to be more toward the fusion-y, experimental side of world music. Iconoclastic groups that span genres, such as Ojos de Brujo, LoJo and Tinariwen seem to be what excites Gillet the most. And though the music here is often about fusing cultures, it invariably maintains a soulful integrity.