Various Artists

Cape Verde

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One of Putumayo founder Dan Storper's fascinations, the islands of Cape Verde, provide this album with a number of noteworthy performers and their work. As would be expected, the top luminaries of the islands' music are present, with a number each from Césaria Evora (the best-known Cape Verdean performer worldwide) and Bana (the most popular within the country). Others from around the world in the major Cape Verdean pocket communities also make their presence known, from Tito Paris to Jose Neves to the Matias sisters. Putumayo favorite Maria Alice makes an appearance, as does the culture-crossing Boy Ge Mendes with a nice work mixing in Cuban son and reggae with his coladeira. With some power, a trio of singers (as well as director Paulino Vieira and others) push their way through a funana from a 1990 Cape Verdean-specific fundraiser à la "We Are the World." Between the somber and soulful tones of the mornas, the upbeat coladeiras, and the quicker-paced funanas, the album can seem a bit incoherent as styles are switched on and off. There's a coherence afforded by both the language and the emotional content, which helps keep the album together, though it isn't a perfectly seamless compilation. Fans of fado will enjoy the mornas and fans of a lot of Caribbean sounds will enjoy the coladeiras, but complete newcomers to the sounds of the islands are likely to be polarized into excitement or boredom by the mix. It is, however, an excellent way to hear the Cape Verde sound beyond the great Evora.

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