various artists,
The Rough Guides Collection
(World Music Network, 2001)

We are all familiar with the Rough Guide travel books, giving the hard unvarnished truth -- not the tourist authority -- low-down on holiday destinations. In association with World Music Network, they also produce albums of the music of various countries.

This particular CD is a sampler of tracks from a number of these albums. As a sampler, you are unlikely to love every single track here but listened to with an open mind this is a good CD.

"Loi" by Koffi Olomide is Congolese music that will appeal to anyone interested in African rhythms and who enjoy the sounds of groups like Ladysmith Black Mambasso. "Joe Le Taxi" sung by Sharaleen Boodram brings you into the world of calypso and steel drums and conjures up warm sand and blue seas with its "holiday" sound.

Sangeeta represents Asian music with a track entitled "Pyar Ka Hai Bairi." The music style is bhangra originating in the Punjab but now firmly established -- with modifications -- in western cultures. "Griogal Cridhe" by Mac-Talla will sound a little more familiar. This is Scottish folk and is one of the earliest documented Gaelic songs.

The CD also features such diverse cultures as Cuba, Italy, Scandinavia, Mali and Japan, as well as dance culture.

As stated, not all tracks will appeal to everyone but as a sampler it gives a representative taste of what is out there, whether it is to relive a happy holiday in an exotic location or to pretend you are on a warm beach as the rain pounds your city window. Check it out -- it gives all the necessary background to find the music of the culture that you enjoy most.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 3 November 2001