Various Artists

Songs the Swahili Sing

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This is the first compilation of the Muslim music of East Africa's coast. With Indian film music and occasional rock and salsa influences grafted onto its basic Afro-Arab stock, it's a totally unexpected monument to the diversity of the Black experience. This, incidentally, was the release that brought taarab to the attention of the outside world, and it's still the most varied introduction, with fine singers male and female in idioms that range from near-Arab to one of the world's most improbable cha cha chas.

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