The Hot List: July 25, 2001

The World Music Network) series of music CDs now has an even more impressive list of titles. These compilations offer a glimpse into musical cultures and genres, mostly from African and Caribbean countries. Some of the recent titles include:

Unwired: Africa - Koras, Mbiras, Guitars: An Acoustic Voyage - A look at African music done acoustically, featuring Spirit Talk Mbira and Oliver Mutukudzi.

The Rough Guide to the Music of Senegal & Gambia - From Griot Traditions to Senegambian Superstars - Youssou N'Dour, Baaba Maal, Ismaël Lô -- a comprehensive look at the best of this region.

The Rough Guide to Marrabenta Mozambique - Urban Dance Rhythms from Maputo - A look at the music from a region often overlooked in other African music compilations. Also worth a listen is Etuphuru, the "Golden Voice" of Mozambique, one of the most successful bands from the region that has reunited.

The Rough Guide to Samba - Carnaval: The World's Most Serious Party - African beats meet Portuguese guitars as this look at Sao Paulo carnaval music.

The Rough Guide to Merengue & Bachata - Latin Beats from the Dominican Republic Streets - Merengue is a sexy dance with a 2/4 beat. This album gives you all the merengue you can handle, complete with guitar riffs and emotional vocals.

The Rough Guide to Global Dance - World Beat Canrval: Access All Areas - Get ready to move with this sampling of dance music from around the World, including African, Asian, Samba and Afro-Beat.

The Rough Guide to the Music of Jamaica - Roots Music from the Loudest Island on the Planet - A ska and reggae-lover's delight, with The Maytals, Shabba Ranks and Junior Reid.

The Rough Guide to Bluegrass - Lightening String Music from the Appalachians - Down-home picking and grinning from wizard guitarists, banjo-players and singers. Bring your own jug and washboard.

The Rough Guide to the Music of Scandinavia - Polskas, Joiks, Accordions and Fiddles: New Nordic Roots - The title really says it all. This collection of music from Finland, Sweden and Norway include the best names in traditional Scandinavian music: Wimme, Hedningarna, Garmana, JPP and many more. As well, for Scandinavian music enthusiasts, the premier albums from Hedingarna and Garmana have been re-issued at a special price by NorthSide.

The Rough Guide to Klezmer - Jewish Traditions: Shtetl Roots and New World Revival - This is an album that will have all listeners dancing a hora! An excellent compilation of the music played at Jewish weddings and celebrations, the album contains tracks from the FLying Bulgar Klezmer Band, Naftule Brandwein, klezmer researcher and musician Joel Rubin and The Klezmer Conservatory Band.

One of the most unique albums to come my way is Reggae Rocks: A Tribute to Rock 'N' Roll - The Tide is High (Madacy/Bongo Boy). As the title inplies, the album features reggae versions of classic rock songs like "Fly Like An Eagle," "Start Me Up," "Maggie May," and "Johnny B. Goode." This is a great album for people who otherwise would not listen to reggae, just out of curiousity to hear what these tracks sound like.

Drums'N'Bass is a style that is most popular among dance music fans. But some of it has global roots. Two recordings, East-Westercism (Vol. 1) and Avantgardism (Vol. 1) (Unitone/Rounder), explore modern techno and experimental sounds with cross-cultural influences, arrangements and rhythm timings.