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Putumayo Presents: Islands (1997)

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Putumayo Presents: Islands (1997)

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  1. Danca Ma Mi Criola - Tito Paris
  2. Me Ki Sa Oule - Kali
  3. Bomba Te Traigo Yo - Jose Gonzales Y Banda Criolla
  4. Falso Testemunho - Maria Alice
  5. Veinte Anos - Los Traditionales De Carlos Puebla
  6. Mbo Hahita Avao - D'Gary & Jihe
  7. Sonegaly - Tarika
  8. E Iti Taurua - Bobby & Angelo
  9. Olinda Road - Hapa
  10. Mix Up World - Quito Rymer

 

Why is it that island cultures so often create the most magical, deeply individual sounds? Is it because they are usually miles away from corrupting outside influences? Perhaps it is due to the fact that they are forced to create music from their own inner resources. The powerful voices of Jamaican reggae, Cuban rumba, and Puerto Rican salsa have been joined on the world stage by Cape Verdean morna and Hawaiian slack-key guitar, and the hits just keep on coming. The tunes on this set are not terribly revealing about their place of origin, but plenty of likable grooves turn up, primarily dance-oriented party fodder. It's like a casual tourist's piña colada-fueled vacation fantasy: a very pretty and colorful interlude that doesn't have much to do with real life in either place. It's perfect for lazy summer days and nights, ethnic banquets, and tropical-themed celebrations. ---Christina Roden, amazon.com

 

A relatively loosely fitting concept for an album, this one from Putumayo's shelves is filled with songs from artists who live on islands (e.g., Caribbean, Pacific, East African). The album starts out with a little dance from Tito Paris (from Cape Verde). Also representing Cape Verde later on is Maria Alice, who puts out something a little closer to Portuguese fado (understandable, given her location). Representing the Caribbean are Kali from Martinique, who provides a slickly produced dance number, Puerto Rico's Jose Gonzalez, who provides a little more of a hybrid dance/traditional sound, and Quito Rymer, a bar owner from the Virgin Islands, with a heavily reggae-tinged sound. From Madagascar, both D'Gary & Jihe (legends in their own land) and Tarika (apparently without her constant associate, Sammy) provide tracks. Finally, from the Pacific, a pair of similar duos provide tracks: Bobby & Angelo from Tahiti and Hapa from Hawaii, both of whom have created something of a half-traditional popular form of music on their respective islands. Overall, the music isn't bad at all but, after making use of such a generalized categorization as islands, much worthwhile music has been left out. Better compilations, etc., are available for any given one of the bands or locales, and those may be better picks for anyone who already has any idea whatsoever as to what they enjoy. --- Adam Greenberg, Rovi

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