Sound alternatives

Could Mali become the next Cuba? The folks at Putumayo—known for their attractive world-music compilations—think so, and make a compelling case. From Habib Koite’s forlorn, percussive “Kanawa” to Issa Bagayogo’s “Bana” (with a swing that recalls the Bee Gees in their Saturday Night Fever prime), this collection is rich in variety, depth and musicality. The only disappointment: no cut from Tinariwen, the stunning ensemble of Tuareg refugees that performed at the Cornwall, England, Live 8 concert.


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