Various Artists

Gifted: Women of the World

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The work of female vocalists has been a core part of the Real World's releases since the label's inception. Charismatic and stylistically flexible artists like Sheila Chandra and Yungchen Lhamo have the kind of listener-friendly sound that allows for easy crossover into pop without having to sacrifice too much musical heritage. So, it isn't surprising to see Real World commemorate their roster of female artists with this compilation. Originally sponsored as part of a promotion for Perfumes Cacharel, this compilation delivers much higher quality than one might expect from a cross-branded product. Indeed, the disc is a pleasant mix of pop hits like Sheila Chandra's "Ever So Lonely" with still-strong but lesser-known songs like Assitan Mama Keita's "Baro." Excellent tracks from Susana Baca, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Estrella Morente, and Shruti Sadolikar help round out the rest of a consistently strong roster.

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