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Various Artists: World Music Box

Album Notes

A sampler set from EMI's Hemisphere and Real World record labels, World Music Box zips around the world in three 15-song discs, the musical equivalent of Around the World in 80 Days. The first album collects pan-African artists, including Zimbabwe's Thomas Mapfumo and the Ivory Coast reggae star Alpha Blondy. The second disc covers the New World, with Native American, Cajun, and South American artists, including "Iron Sharpening Iron" from Culture, a Jamaican vocal trio, before closing with tracks from the Pacific Rim, Tibet, and India's sitar master, Ravi Shankar. The final album in the set visits European regional traditions and Middle Eastern artists, and features a track from the ultra-modern Afro-Celt Sound System ("Dark Moon, High Tide"). Since no artist gets more than a single cut here, listening to the whole compilation has the feel of a stone skipping over the ocean, never quite settling into a groove, which is probably the intent of the project, but it is still a little bothersome. Liner notes are scanty, but as a sampler rather than an in-depth study,World Music Box does its job. ~ Steve Leggett


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