Various Artists

Rough Guide to the Music of North Africa

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This compilation focuses on the music of four countries -- Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, and Morocco. The focus is mainly on contemporary popular forms, but tosses in a bit of roots here and there. Rai is featured heavily throughout the album in its various incarnations from Cheb Mami to Cheb Khaled. Nubian music is also featured in multiple incarnations, from the brassy but relatively traditional work of Ali Hassan Kuban to the newer fusion-influenced Salamat. The beats of the Arab world are thoroughly showcased on this album, and anyone itching for a quick look into the genres of North Africa should pick up this album for its rather comprehensive coverage of the genres, as well as relatively extensive liner notes on the histories of the various forms. The only notable omissions here would perhaps be the ritual music of the Gnawa of Marrakesh, but despite this minor missing detail, the album is a worthwhile listen for someone with any level of experience with the music.

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