Congo To Cuba
Putumayo’s Odyssey series is an inspiring undertaking that explores the commonalities between the world’s various musical forms. Sometimes, it’s intriguing — as in the blues-saturated Memphis to Mali — and sometimes, painfully obvious — like Cairo To Casablanca (Wow! Middle Eastern music sounds eerily like… well, Middle Eastern music). However, they are always good. Congo To Cuba is more on the no-brainer side, since salsa was directly imported into the Congo in the ’60s, which spawned the intriguing and thoroughly enjoyable mutation, soukous. Unfortunately for us, the label decided to not explore the similarities between soukous and the myriad branches on the salsa tree. Instead, we get a collection of son from Cuba, Guinea, Congo, Gambia, Mali, Senegal, and Benin with artists like Mama Sissoko, Tshala Muana, and Chico Alvarez. Despite this pedestrianism, Congo Yo Cuba is another fine Putumayo compilation. That “Putumayo Sound” remains strong with its soft, mellow, melodic sound that blankets and soothes the nerves. A dark rum and fruit juice elixir on a warm and breezy tropical afternoon. A serious joy to chill-out to and forget your troubles — global-style.