Various Artists

World Circuit Presents (Best of)

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In 2006 World Circuit released a sampler celebrating its 20th anniversary. Apparently, it worked because World Circuit Presents is another overview of the astonishing array of artists it brings to the general public. We in the United States benefit because its production and distribution deal is with Nonesuch, a label that is part of the Warner-Elektra-Atlantic family and was with Ryko before that. This double-disc is an excellent way for the listener -- novice or connoisseur -- to get saturated in some of the best music the world has to offer. World Circuit brought Yankees the Buena Vista Social Club and all of its stars, from Ibrahim Ferrer and Rubén González to Compay Segundo (all of whom have since passed away) and Omara Portuondo. They brought us offerings from Radio Tarifa and Sierra Maestra and Oumou Sangare, as well as amazing reissues by the Cuban electric guitar doo wop group Los Zafiros and the truly exotic Orchestra Baobab, as well as the griot master Toumani Diabaté. They offer a cut from Ry Cooder and the late Ali Farka Touré, as well as jazz from Anga Diaz covering John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme," with a completely different take on the tune. These are only a few of the offerings on this treasure trove compiled by label boss Nick Gold, which is sold at a budget price and whose handsome booklet is packed with information. This is one of those sets that can be played almost anytime and offers a glimpse into the magical sounds that are created daily outside America's borderline -- and narrow -- vision of itself and its culture.

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