Various Artists

Putumayo Presents: Music from the Chocolate Lands

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Following up on the success of Music From the Coffee Lands and Music From the Tea Lands, Putumayo is taking the opportunity to showcase music from the production countries of another caffeinated substance. Because chocolate is a widespread crop at this point, the compilers took carte blanche to cast an overly wide net. Selections hail from Africa and the Caribbean (where it's grown), Europe (where it was made into a treat), and the U.S. (where it's eaten?). The music itself ranges similarly, from the British Indipop of Susheela Raman to the Brazilian guitar of Marcantonio, Cuban trumpet work to Swiss/Guinean fusion. Given the obvious caffeine link, the album is surprisingly relaxed (more a function of the nations involved than the caffeine, admittedly), but it remains at a high quality, thanks to the inclusion of many artists already well known, with a good deal of experience and ability. Certainly worth trying out as a wide-span world music album.

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