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Oxfam: Africa
Various Artists
Label: World Music Network



"The music of Africa...as varied and rich as the continent itself." This first sentence of the liner notes summarizes the conflict between the title "Africa" and the limitation of 13 tracks. Though thin as a representation of Africa as a whole, this collection does contain some continental highlights, with tracks from African greats such as Senegal's Youssou N'Dour and Madagascar's Tarika. The Lágbájá song "Abami" from the Nigerian bandleader's CD tribute to Fela Kuti, captures some of his live energy that so captivated the WOMAD crowd last summer. "Father of Rai" Messaoud Bellemou contributes "Nediha Gaouria," featuring his innovative lead trumpet and flowing voice.

Individually, the songs are great, but no common thread connects them. Still, if you don't know much about African music and want some quality samples-or want to help support Oxfam's worthy efforts-this CD may be for you.

©Scott Allan Stevens--2/1//02

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