Various Artists

Magic of the South Seas

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This compilation is drawn from ARC's other Pacific island discs. Unfortunately, they drew very little from the liner notes of those CDs -- listeners are told nothing about most of the groups represented on the album. Here's what can be observed: The music is mostly choral. Accompaniment ranges from nothing to hollow-log drums to guitars and electric bass. Its influences vary from traditional Polynesian music to Christian missionary music to something like easy listening. The one track by the Warwick Vocal Group of Fiji seems to be an acoustic version of salsa. The two songs by Voix des Îles are majestic. If you like their church-derived sound, it is probably worth getting the album Voices of the South Seas. A couple of tracks make fun use of the ukulele. "Te Maeva Welcome" makes better use of it, and Group Moana Nui's untitled track has some wonderful frenzied vocals and drumming. Definitely a worthwhile album if you want to sample the music of the Pacific islands.

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