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The Rough Guide to Afro-Cuba
Various Artists
Label: World Music Network



An ocean apart, Africa and Cuba are nonetheless inseparable. It took me a while to understand that this was a two-way connection; not only did Africa provide the foundations of Cuban music, the resulting styles and rhythms created a feedback loop that has increased over the decades.

This CD is a seamless presentation of Afro-Cuban music from both sides of the Atlantic-sometimes in the same song, as in "Rumba Makossa" featuring Cameroonian saxman Manu Dibango alongside the Cuban son group Cuarteto Patria. Don't rely on your ear alone to distinguish song origins: the most "African-sounding" track, "Yewa" is by legendary Cuban Santeria singer Lázaro Ros, while "Viva Super Eagles" oozes Cuban authenticity although it comes from The Gambia's Super Eagles.

Like any compilation, this one suffers from omissions (where's Congolese crooner Wendo Kolosoy?) but you can discover those when you find yourself craving even more of this great music.

©Scott Allan Stevens--2/1//02

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