Various Artists

Putumayo Presents: Tango Around the World

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While Putumayo has had some success with its Around the World series, the genres chosen have generally had a little more exposure worldwide than tango. Reggae and salsa have both had a large amount of success from continent to continent; conversely, tango is still seen as almost exclusively Argentinean. However, there are some excellent tango artists throughout the world (though primarily in Europe), and this album shows off the breadth of contemporary tango groups. The album opens with Ousmane Touré, from the legendary Toure Kunda, and a Mandinka take on tango. Finland, one of the strongholds of contemporary tango, is represented next with a classic sort of piece. Melingo performs a piece that could have come from Maria de Buenos Aires, and the Brazilian group Fortuna mix a Piazzolla-like tango with some Yiddish for a tricultural surprise. Norwegian DJs mix up some new tango, Greek soundtrack tango takes a turn, and a Serbian folk band takes a swing. A cross of fado, tango, and electronica is presented by the Portuguese singer Liana, and a couple of globetrotting Argentineans present their respective works to close out the album (Juan Caceres spending time in Paris; Hugo Diaz crossing Europe from time to time). As a whole, the album contains perhaps less variability than the Salsa Around the World or World Reggae albums, as tango is explored as a rather classic format by newcomers more often than not -- while they may experiment, the sound remains unmistakably Argentinean, with local influences featured as little more than instrumentation or nifty little additions. The core remains the same. Nonetheless, the album has some excellent music, and is a surefire catch for tango fans.

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