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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By PHIL MEADLEY
Published May 2, 2006

BUDDHA BAR V
George V

The owner’s son has been chomping at the bit while Claude Challe and Ravin get all the plaudits, but this time David Visan has a chance to take the reins of the hugely successful Buddha Bar series. As one would imagine, the order of the day is opulent string sections, smooth jazzy refrains and hip Arabic dance tunes. Visan has a rather unfortunate penchant for melodramatic Euro-pop; as the likes of Emma Shapplin and Jade Or’s “Nie Kantshaietsa” attest. Like most Buddha Bars you have to stick with it until something decent turns up. On the Dinner CD it’s Trumpet Thing’s slick trip-hop track “Far Away” and Portuguese fado sensation Mariza’s “Loucura.”  The dancier Drink CD has many more highlights: dZihan and Kamien’s soaring Arabic strung beats (“Just You & I”), Despina Vandi’s deep Greek growls over powerful Turkish beats (“Gia”), and the monumentally funky “Sphynx (club mix)” by Giampiero Ponte. Visan finishes things off nicely with Ritchie Lawrence’s wonderfully atmospheric interpretation of the theme to the classic British film Lawrence Of Arabia. Certainly not the best in the series, but Visan has sought out some great tunes once again.