Album: Various artists, Desert Blues 3 (Network)

This is the third volume of the 'Desert Blues' series, which the compilers justifiably claim has contributed to our increasing fascination with the genre over recent years.

Back in 2002, when the first volume came out, Tinariwen, Amadou & Mariam and Toumani Diabate (all represented) were virtually unknown here. Some new names, and a widening of the net to include the Ethiopian jazz of Getatchew Mekurya and the orchestrated rai of Khaled, make this double CD both a strong introduction for the newly intrigued, and substantial enough to please those who have already got their feet sandy.

Pick of the Album: Oumou Sangare's graceful, haunting ballad 'Djorolen'