Mo’ Vida!

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Putumayo
PERFORMER: Various artists
CATALOGUE NO: PUTU 166-2

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MO’ VIDA! breaks this column’s no-compilations rule because it makes a necessary point. No disrespect to Compay and chums, but they aren’t exactly the Latin front line. Many of these tracks come from the wider world, especially Paris, and borrow from around the black diaspora. So get updated with Ricardo Lemvo’s pounding basses, Alliance Ethnik’s heavy pulse and Xiomara Fortuna’s Afro-reggae. The old elements are still there – rotating piano figures, brass riffs, layered percussion. But the French hip-hop content is the ear-opener. Are there still people out there who think rap isn’t musical?