PERFORMER: Various artists
CATALOGUE NO: PUTU 147-2 (distr. New Note)
The Putumayo label, from New York, is a compilation specialist but has made an intelligent, ear-opening job of Dublin to Dakar.
The aim is to show the worldwide impact of Celtic idioms by focusing on meetings with African styles. Brigid Boden weaves her songs through a reggae backing, Cheb Mami brings Breton and Scottish instruments to Algeria as exotic colouring, Na Lúa mixes Galician and Afro-Latin elements.
It sounds unlikely on paper, but the magic of the modes ensures a real cohesion. The idea eventually runs out of tracks but the marginal qualifiers, such as Oysterband, are worth hearing for their own sake.