Various Artists

The Rough Guide To Ultimate Musical Adventures

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Often, Rough Guide's world music compilation CDs appear on the surface to have neither rhyme nor reason: random collections of songs from various ports of call, they are stylistically incompatible and thematically disjointed. That's not necessarily a negative -- it keeps things lively and keeps the listener guessing, and if you don't like one song, perhaps the next will do it. The music on The Rough Guide to Ultimate Musical Adventures, which collects 13 tracks by artists from locales as far-flung as Israel and India, Latin America and Africa, shifts radically from track to track, and part of what makes it a successful compilation is the element of surprise. From bhangra to salsa, African blues to Cambodian-inspired '60s style psychedelia (the amazing Dengue Fever), it doubles as both a perfect party disc and an introduction to the current state of world music for those who are under the misimpression that it's all field hollers in unintelligible languages. Ozomatli's "La Gallina" is a solid Latin rock floorshaker and its position as the follow-up to Cameroonian Francis Bebey's half-spoken/half-yodeled "Pygmy Divorce" is about as jarring a musical juxtaposition as any ever waxed. Not everything here will appeal to everyone, but that's the point; that's what makes it an adventure.

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