Various Artists

Putumayo Presents: Afro-Caribbean Party

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This collection from the Putumayo label offers a breezy selection of dance-oriented songs from the Caribbean region. As the title suggests, the music reflects the cultural melting pot of influences on the Caribbean islands with an emphasis on African traditions. In addition to some nice reggae from Jamaica's Clinton Fearon ("Come by Yah") and several spicy, Latin-flavored tracks from Cuba are a number of Haitian selections which really show the mix of both African and European influences, particularly on the song "Mango Fransik (Mango Lafrance)" by Kazak International and Jan Sebon. All of the songs reflect the unique percussive style that is a mix of African, Latin, and indigenous rhythms, like on "Cachita" by Ska Cubano or "Spence for da Soul" by Fred Ferguson and Graffiti. Threaded throughout all of the music here is the sunny, relaxed style typically associated with music from the Caribbean island nations.

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