Various Artists

Earthbeat! Sampler Beyond Boundaries

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This aptly named hour-long sampler presents a cross-section of the world music offered by the Earthbeat! label. The first half features music either directly or indirectly inspired by the rhythms of Africa. Included here are lively Afro-Cuban jazz and soulful West African chanting by the 46-member Machete Ensemble; vigorous drum orchestrations and call-and-response vocals by Ghanaian master drummer Obo Addy; sizzling salsa by Orquesta Batachanga; and giddy sambas from Brazil. The second half features a haunting Middle Eastern piece by the group Jazayer, as well as several selections of European folk music -- mainly dulcimers, violins and flutes -- by the group Nisava and Carrie Crompton's Barolk Folk. From African drumming to Bulgarian folk dances, from Caribbean jazz to 17th-century court music, Beyond Boundaries is a wonderful introduction to several of the more significant traditions of music from the Western hemisphere.