Various – World Groove

World Groove, the latest release from Putumayo, features 10 tracks of electronic dance music from around the world. The CD is full of upbeat and fun songs that highlight how people everywhere are creating music that mixes traditional regional influences with electronic dance beats and synth grooves.

The CD is part of Putumayo’s Global Groove series. If you’re not familiar with these compilations, World Groove is a perfect introduction. The tracks feature artists many listeners won’t know, but will probably want to, after listening to the CD. The package includes a detailed booklet, with a two-page spread for each track, telling you a little about each artist and their music.

The CD is an enhanced CD that includes a video by Egypt’s Hisham Abbas and Jayrashree, called Nari Nari. The video is a preview of an upcoming DVD of world music videos. With initial pressings of this release, Putumayo is also including a sampler CD that includes tracks from their Groove and Lounge series of world beat music.

The title, World Groove, seems to refer more to the style of music on the CD, rather than the origin. The CD focuses on Europe and Africa, skipping the Americas, Eastern Europe and Asia almost completely.

The music is a varied collection of mid-tempo dance tracks swank enough to grace the hippest occasion. France’s Rouge Rouge starts things off with the infectiously funky Attention. Whether or not you know a word of French, the catchy track gets your attention.

Next comes a slice of Turkish R&B/dance music from Turkey’s Mustafa Sandal, Aya Benzer. Things get more electronic with Germany’s 2raumworhnung. The synth work on their Ich Weiß Warum recalls Laid Back’s White Horse, but 2raumworhnung includes acoustic guitar, too, creating an interesting contrast.

Several other tracks on the CD stand out. Issa Bagayogo’s Nogo combines dance beats with traditional Malian lute to create unique and hypnotic music. Cheb Mami’s Algerian vocal inflections, combined with K-Mel’s rap, help make Parisien du Nord an great hybrid of influences. El sopon de yuya, from Cuba’s Edesio, gets brings the CD up to a peak with his mix of Cuban jazz, electronic beats and quirky lyrics. Yuya’s soup must really be something!

Lebanon’s Ragheb Alama wraps up the CD with Saharony Ellil. The track features great vocals, oud, and some enthusiastic accordian work. This, and other unusual mixtures found on other tracks, are foreign to most Western dance music, and are a lot of the music’s appeal.

Putumayo has put together a classy compilation with World Groove. Musically, it’s an interesting introduction to dance artists from around the world. The packaging is attractive, and the liner notes are comprehensive. The addition of the bonus CD makes this a release one of the most interesting world electronica releases this year.

A portion of the proceeds of World Groove will be donated to the Putumayo Cross-Cultural Initiative. PCCI is a non-profit organization that provides multicultural education and world music resources to elementary school children

  • Attention – Rouge Rouge
  • Aya Benzer [Royal G’s R&B Mix] – Mustafa Sandal
  • Ich Weiß Warum – 2raumwohnung
  • Sous le Soleil [Cuba Mix] – The Major Boys
  • Nogo – Issa Bagayogo
  • Miss.Q. In – Zap Mama
  • Parisien du Nord [Remix] – Cheb Mami
  • Ama-Gents [Club Mix] – Brenda Fassie
  • Sopón de Yuya – Edesio
  • Saharony Ellil – Ragheb Alama

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