New Reviews: August 24, 1998

Putumayo is a record company that releases some of the most comprehensive and unusual compilations of World Music. Reggae Around the World is the latest, and features others who follow in the footsteps of Bob Marely and Peter Tosh. However, not all of these acts are Jamaican, Jamaica of course being the birthplace of this genre. The haunting lead-off track "We Love It" is from South Africa's Lucky Dube. Blekbala Mujik is from Australia, and Zeca Baleiro is from Brazil. Each artists brings their own unqiue feel to reggae due to their diverse geographic locations. Perhaps most unusual is Peter Rowan's countrified "No Woman, No Cry," featuring such Nashville luminaries as Mark O'Connor on fiddle and Jerry Douglas on dobro.

Sam Mangwana is a World Music legend, fusing the musical forms of Africa, Latin American, Brazil, and the Caribbean. His lyrics reflect concerns about political injustice and the environment, and although his words sometimes get him into trouble in Africa, he has lived and toured throughout the continent. Galo Negro brings his music to a wider audience in North America, and features his smooth Afro-Caribbean rhythms infusing ballads and upbeat tunes alike. Most of the songs are in Portuguese and the Congolese language of Lingala -- a brief explanation in English accompanies each song in the liner notes.

Both of these albums were courtesy of Putumayo.