Various Artists

Dublin to Dakar: A Celtic Odyssey

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A person could spend a fortune acquiring all of the excellent Celtic compilations that came out in the 1990s. The thing that sets Dublin to Dakar: A Celtic Odyssey apart from the majority of them is the fact that Putumayo looked at a variety of countries in its search for Celtic-minded sounds. Celtic music comes primarily from Ireland and Scotland, but most of the artists heard on this eclectic CD (which spans 1996-98) aren't Irish or Scottish. Dublin to Dakar offers everything from the Scandinavian/Celtic fusion of Norwegian singer Rita Erikson's take on "Villemann og Magnhild" (a traditional Norwegian folk ballad) to Algerian superstar Cheb Mami's "Azwaw 2" (an unlikely rai/Celtic hybrid) and Italian group the Modena City Ramblers' "Canzone Dalla Fine Del Monda," which combines a Celtic structure with Italian lyrics. It might be hard to imagine Celtic music sung in Italian, but it works perfectly. Meanwhile, the Irish singers heard on this compilation do a lot of experimenting themselves. Brigid Boden unites a reggae beat with Celtic harmonies on "One Glimpse of You," and Aine Minogue fuses Celtic, North African and Indian elements on "O Boro Braindi Braindi." Like many other Putumayo compilations, Dublin to Dakar is exciting because it avoids the obvious.

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