Various artists

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 May, 2004, 12:00am

Various artists


World Reggae


(Putumayo)


Unimaginatively titled it may be, but World Reggae is nevertheless a great showcase of 12 lesser-known international acts from Europe, South America and Africa.


It's roots reggae-oriented, and instruments indigenous to each group's native country or ethnic origins are sometimes subtly dropped into the mix.


British-born ethnic Indian Apache Indian brings in a few Buddhist chant-like backing vocals and the occasional finger cymbal in Om Numah Shivaya, but his vocal delivery and the grinding drum and bass backdrop sounds 100 per cent Jamaican. The result is an atmospheric standout track.


Maria de Barros' Riberonzinha fuses a slower skank with the salsa-like rhythm of the music of Cape Verde - isolated islands off Senegal that were once a Portuguese colony. Sung in Criolo, a mix of Portuguese and West African dialects, this is sun-drenched music at its most laid-back.


Only two tracks seem derivative. French Guyana's Chris Combette's vocal delivery Babylone Buildings smacks of Bob Marley. Majek Fashek's African Unity intro and repeated hook is a carbon copy of Toots and the Maytal's Monkey Man.


But the collection is mostly original sounding, and instantly uplifting. Bound to be a summer favourite.