Various Artists

The Rough Guide to Paris Café, Vol. 2

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The second Rough Guide installment of Parisian café music delves deeper into the uniquely French world of musette. It's very broad stylistically, ranging from the jazzy mélange purveyed by Les Primitifs du Futur (which isn't typical of their work) to the archaic strangeness of Trio DCA. There's plenty of wonderful musicianship, some of it from accordionist Ludovic Beier, featured on a pair of tracks. One of the great joys of this compilation is the way it goes into the vaults for some vintage 1930s recordings from Damia and Henri Momboisse. The sheer variety of sound is thrilling, as is the quality of the musicianship -- and there are far fewer accordions than most might expect. It's an area of music that most people have heard, at least fleetingly, but which very few know, and that makes this a worthy addition. Add in a bonus CD from the young band Beltuner, who have plenty to contribute to an established style with their Arabic influences, and it's a winning package.

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