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CD REVIEWS Putumayo World Music brings culture to CD players

Not keen on listening to music that might not even have lyrics in English? One listen to any of Putumayo’s cultural compilation CDs, and many would beg to differ. Started in 1993 to introduce music of the world “guaranteed to make you feel good,” Putumayo offers over 13 different genres of cultural music to inspire and soothe the soul. Offering melodic tunes of European influence, jazzy blues, latin grooves, and reggae, Putumayo has a song for every listener. Celebrating the diversity of the world and unity in music, Putumayo World Music appeals to any person who likes being soaked in culture, even if the lyrics need to be translated.

Greece: A Musical Odyssey
Mixing ancient and modern themes, Greece: A Musical Odyssey is a 12-track compilation of rich tempos and solid vocals. Although not in English, the feel of musical influences from many different traditions can be felt through the music as the notes drip with an authentic Greek feel. Poetic, the collection of songs comes from some of the most popular contemporary Greek artists. A combination of rembetika, demotica, entehno, and laiko-all genres of music in the Greek culture- the CD gives any listener a feel for the old and the new, bringing to light the diversity of such an old society.
In particular, track three “Pino Pino” is a common song whose lyrics about the spell of love transcend cultural differences, as love is a universal theme. Track six also transcends boundaries, again remaining with the theme of love while taking a traditional Grecian melody and adding the soft sounds of flamenco for flavor.
While the language is foreign, the beats are soothing and relaxing, perfect for a casual evening or some background music for a long night of studying.

Nuevo Latino
Modern and fresh, Nuevo Latino combines elements of rock, reggae, electronica, and traditional elements for a melodiously interesting compilation. Exploring classic themes such as love, celebration, passion, and self-betterment, the beats and musical sound of the Spanish language are sensual and moving. Every track is filled with passion, a feeling that resonates from every note on the CD.
To simply ignore Nuevo Latino and its raspy voiced vocalists would be a crime, as a very dynamic and large part of the Hispanic culture is translated through music. The CD captures a very real side to the musical majesty of a culture and its customs.

>> For more information about Putumayo World Music, go to www.putumayomusic.com.

Joanna Davila can be contacted at j.davila1@umiami.edu.

September 24, 2004

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