Various Artists

The Arthur S. Alberts Collection: More Tribal, Folk, and Café Music of West Africa

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The 19 tracks that make up this collection from the Library of Congress' Endangered Music Project are just as raw as you would expect from field recordings made in the middle of the 20th century. But they are also an invaluable document in the history of African musical traditions. Celebrated archivist Arthur S. Alberts was to African folk music what Harry Smith was to American folk music, and the tracks documented on this collection rank among the most complete overviews of African music of the mid-1900s available. Although the unpolished nature of these recordings is sure to limit their appeal to all but the most serious world music collectors, the album should be considered a must-have historical document for fans of African music in general and syncopated percussion in particular.

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