PERFORMER: Various artists
CATALOGUE NO: PUT 189-2
The Putumayo label is one worth watching: generally it makes more thoughtful choices than the over-prolific Rough Guides compilations, and in ARABIC GROOVE it has put the spotlight on popular singers from right along the southern Mediterranean, who are moving with the times.
Like everybody else they mix in a vigorous repertoire of contemporary production techniques. Unlike the others they have strong Muslim roots. If you find Arab music hard to ‘get’ and you can take some (fairly mild) beats, you should try this. Mostly the performers aren’t young pioneers but long-established big names such as Natacha Atlas and Khaled. They have a vast public, and what they are up to needs to be heard.