Various Artists

Beginner's Guide to World Music, Vol. 2

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U.K. label Nascente has done a pretty good job over the past couple of years at assembling Beginner's Guide records, traveling the globe, from Scotland to Jamaica to Brazil to the United States, and educating the public about various types of music. In 2004's Beginner's Guide to World Music Vol. 2 British DJ Gerry Lyseight decide to focus instead on the larger global picture. The music is grouped into three categories, each corresponding to a separate disc: "World Party," "World Café," and "World Chill." As world music is such an expansive category, it would be impossible to put a truly inclusive guide together, and for Lyseight, though he does throw in a few unexpected cuts from Pakistan and Ethiopia, the vast majority of his music stays within the Latin and African realms. Granted, those are both huge, diverse regions, and probably the ones most commonly thought of when world music is referenced, but it still leaves out a lot geographically, especially when Nascente has already made so many collections that feature other kinds if music. The first disc is especially Latin-heavy, most likely due to salsa and samba's danceability (which fits into the "Party" theme), and while things become a little more interspersed and diverse as the collection moves along, the overall feel of the album is focused in the Afro-Latin realm. This isn't a bad thing musically. The songs are all good and there are contributions from important, popular artists like Papi Oviedo, Africando, Alfredo De La Fé, Baaba Maal, and Manu Dibango (Africando's song "Azo Nkplon," is especially good). For a true neophyte, so as not to be overwhelming, Beginner's Guide is an enjoyable way to place a foot onto the shores of world music. And for anyone else, it's just a really good collection.

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