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Reggae Around the World
Putumayo CD PUTU142-2, 1998

from Ghana to Kentucky

Dan Macintosh, 7 February 2001

Although Reggae music has become almost synonymous with Jamaica and its Rastafarian culture, Putumayo World Music has released a compilation album as recorded proof that this style is now an international form.

It's not surprising to find Reggae music in such African countries as South Africa (Lucky Dube) or Nigeria (Majek Fashek), since the Reggae culture has always been so strongly Afro-centric. But seeing nations such as Brazil (Zeca Baleiro) and U.S.A. (Peter Rowan) also on the bill, may just cause you to give a double take.

Rowan's inclusion is perhaps the most unlikely contribution here, since his background is primarily in bluegrass. But because this musical maverick has also traded licks with rockers like Jerry Garcia, his eclecticism shouldn't really come as too much of a shock anybody already familiar with his past work.

Reggae's birthplace is also well represented by selections from Burning Spear, on "Jordan River," and from legendary guitarist Ernest Ranglin, who adds his instrumental prowess to the classic "Stop That Train."

This wide-ranging collection holds together well, because the artists chosen show a deep and abiding respect for Reggae music and it's impact upon the international musical culture. Although world music gets a full "It's A Small World" treatment here, in the end it's those hypnotic rhythms of Reggae music's ongoing tradition which ultimately deserve top billing.

performer and songs  

Lucky Dube: We Love It
Blekbala Mujik: Drangkinbala
Zeca Baleiro: Salão de Beleza
Rasha: Salib Fuadi
Askia Modibo: Wadjou
Majek Fashek: Promised Land
     Ernest Ranglin: Stop That Train
Kreyol Syndikat: Roots Ragga
Rocky Dawuni: In Ghana
Burning Spear: Jordan River
Peter Rowan & Friends: No Woman, No Cry

Copyright © 2001 Peppercorn Press. All rights reserved.