Like most releases in the Rough Guide series, this compilation provides a solid overview of the music of a particular region, but Indonesia's musical traditions are probably among the least well-known in the West. World music aficionados may be familiar with the gamelan orchestras for which the region has become known, but this 15-song CD exposes the broad diversity of sounds you might expect from a country with over 550 ethnic groups spread across more than 17,500 islands. From the traditional gamelan and throbbing percussion of CBMW's folksy "Sambasunda" and the lilting guitar picking and melancholy vocals of Grup Bamba Puang's "Los Quin Tallu-Tallu" to the more modern, Indian- and Arabic-influenced pop sounds of artists like Elvy Sukaesih and her former partner, Rhoma Irama, The Rough Guide to Indonesia provides an accessible introduction to some very unfamiliar musical traditions.
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AllMusic Review by Bret Love