Various Artists

Cafe Cantante: 8 PM

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Around 8 P.M., it's time for a dinner, or an intimate tête-à-tête, and this is a disc intended to set the romantic mood with slow, sensual music. There's nothing upbeat, just music to keep the tension simmering, like offerings from Susana Baca or Omara Portunondo. There's quite a mix, from Cuba (which provides the majority of the tracks) to Bolivia, Brazil to Peru, and it's all world-class -- absolutely no filler in this meal. Papa Noel and Papa Oviedo supply dessert with "Juliana," but along the way there are plenty of succulent morsels to provide the soundtrack (along with recipes for food and cocktails in the booklet). Just don't dismiss Cafe Cantante: 8 PM as background; you'll find the conversation stopping to take in a piece, your head gently nodding, and an urge to bust into song with your date.

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