Globetrotting in Stereo

World Playground 2 (Putumayo)

Various

By David Lilly

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, let Putumayo take you `round the world. Under the big top tonight: joyfully infectious sounds from Algeria, Canada, Colombia, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Spain, Trinidad and the African continent. Putumayo's 2001 release of World Playground 2 is of course the follow-up to 1999's World Playground sampler of music from various countries on this planet. If you think the only answer to the question, "what kind of music do you like?" is either country or rock, this disc (and any other Putumayo release) will be an eye opener.

Before you even ask, the answer is no. The first song, Baka Beyond's "Adukbe," is not a revved-up version of the title song from Paul Simon's Graceland. This song is one of the results of a couple of English musicians spending some time studying the ancient music and cultural traditions of Cameroon, and it is good stuff. Why, it's peppy! Xtatik's "Music Farm" incorporates a bit of "Old MacDonald" and bounces along on bubbling percussion. They sure know how to have a hoedown in Canada, and Barachoie's "La Marmotteuse" is proof. For the most part, anyway. This tune changes tempo a few times and includes a short, unexpected and melancholy harmonica solo.

Do you like a good bossa nova? La Sonora Dinamita's slightly erotic "A Mover La Colita," seasoned with bursts of horn, should be fun. It will definitely get you off your seat and on your feet. Trotting horse's hooves of percussion carry a steady Reggae beat through Toots and the Maytals' soothing "Freedom Train." Maixa Ta Ixiar's "Zuhaitzarena" is a bit sad, but mostly it's a pleasant accordion waltz from Spain, the beauty of which is enhanced by the singer's pretty voice.

It would be challenging and fun to describe the rest of the songs here, but mystery can be enticing and fun also, so I encourage you to go exploring. You can hear music from this record label on WFPK or check out the Putumayo section at Ear X-tacy. Also, you could treat yourself to a visit at www.putumayo.com