World music reviews

CHICO CESAR | Mama Mundi (Emarcy) VARIOUS ARTISTS | World 2000 (EMI Hemisphere)
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The Independent Culture

Only in Brazil could such relatively anodyne pop music be produced by an ex-music critic, whose early interests are said to have included concrete poetry, 12-tone music, Cinema Novo and Mao Tse Tung. Coming from the northeastern state of Paraiba, Cesar calls upon a much wider range than the sambas of Rio or Sao Paulo. Mama Mundi mixes elements that you would normally associate with Celtic music, as well as the accordions of his region's forro style and acoustic guitars and strings, to create an interesting hybrid of native and world musics. A companion release, Chico Cesar, on the Putamayo Artists label, offers more of the same. PJ

Only in Brazil could such relatively anodyne pop music be produced by an ex-music critic, whose early interests are said to have included concrete poetry, 12-tone music, Cinema Novo and Mao Tse Tung. Coming from the northeastern state of Paraiba, Cesar calls upon a much wider range than the sambas of Rio or Sao Paulo. Mama Mundi mixes elements that you would normally associate with Celtic music, as well as the accordions of his region's forro style and acoustic guitars and strings, to create an interesting hybrid of native and world musics. A companion release, Chico Cesar, on the Putamayo Artists label, offers more of the same. PJ

Ever since world music started to get some serious market share, you can't move for dodgy compilations of Cuban this and African that. To their credit, EMI have taken care with this double CD chosen by Charlie Gillett, going beyond their own labels to include some defiantly beyond the pale - not to say paleface - artists. Thus we get Suba (Brazilian music from a Yugoslavian on a Belgian label), jazz acts Olu Dara and Pharoah Sanders, old lag Sergio Mendes and new kid on the block Femi Kuti, as well as the more obvious choices. The programming is exemplary and there are several surprises, not least the melancholy Kroke of Poland. PJ

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