Various Artists

International Music Series: World Box

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Spinart Records released quite an unusual world music boxed set in 2001 consisting of one CD from Trinidad, one from Latvia, one disc of Cajun music from Louisiana, and a bonus CD sampler of music from around the world. While the quality of the music is fine, the decision to group the music from these three very different regions is a bit confusing. The set's real selling point is the inclusion of a group of new material from Cajun fiddler Doug Kershaw, as well as a good selection of down-home tunes from Chubby Carrier, Ray Abshire, and the Basin Brothers. The second disc, Carnival in Trinidad, shows a photo of revelers in the streets, obviously getting down to some pretty wild sounds, but the actual music on the disc seems a bit too crisp and studio-bound. The Latvian disc is markedly more dynamic; at times restrained and ethereal, often droning melodically through traditional folk melodies, and then brightly jumping through jigs and reels. The Latvian disc is the real treasure, showcasing the unique musical trends of a region sandwiched geographically between Northern Europe and Russia, and stylistically between traditional folk, gypsy music, and the influence of Western music.

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