Various Artists

African Dreams

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As the album title indicates, this is the softer side of pan-African music, which is sometimes forgotten in the crush of music to come from the continent. Cameroonian Gino Sitson (whose inspiration seems to be Bobby McFerrin) shows how the voice can be used, multi-tracking his into a choir, and the late S.E. Rogie's laid-back palm wine style fits perfectly into the aesthetic. This isn't meant to be a traditional album, by any means, which becomes quite apparent as listening continues. But it's no less effective for that, with strong cuts from Coco Mbassi and several others, including a take on the classic "Sweet Mother." Ranging from the Ethiopian sounds of Tigist Shibabaw to the Atlantic Cape Verdean islands courtesy of Celina Pereira's soft morna "Eclipse," this is what it says, a lulling, relaxing take on African music. It won't change your world, but it might send you to sleep with a smile.

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