Various: Marabi Africa (Marabi/Ode)

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Rumbanella Band: Kellya
Various: Marabi Africa (Marabi/Ode)

This excellent 17-track compilation is an ideal introduction to the diverse and exciting music coming out of various parts of Africa these days.

It also opens with Nebine, the best track off that thrilling album Nour by the Mauritanian singer Malouma (see tag) whose electrifying Sahara blues is giving Tinariwen a run for their money in the "world music album of the year" stakes at Elsewhere.

But here too are songs that wooze and sway like some cocktail hour mix of Cuba and the Pacific (the Rumbanella Band and Wendo Kolosoy), much acoustic blues on guitar with a light Afrobeat, and a couple of familiar names from South Africa (Johnny Clegg, the Mahotella Queens).

There are gently driving rhythm sections, those distincitive tickling electric guitars, and singers who are tight with passion or soaring with the eagles.

Excellent collection, good pointer to other albums by these artists, and much recommended -- especially if you haven't been back to Africa after you got bored by your third Ladysmith Black Mambazo album.

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