Blues Around The World

Blues Around The World
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Code: NL116D
UPC #: 790248025322
Format: CD
Artist/Author: Various
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Blues Around The World - CD

From Buenos Aires to Barcelona, Mississippi to Mauritania this collection documents the trials and tribulations expressed through the blues from a global perspective. Despite language or lyrics, nationality or ethnicity, the blues speak to everyone.

Highlight performances include The Unseen Guest, who formed when an Irish musician traveled to southern India and began playing on the streets accompanied by a tabla-toting native. Big Mama, who you might think must be from the Mississippi Delta, but she’ll demonstrate that you can live in Barcelona and still know how to sing the blues. Spain’s Jarabe de Palo contributes "La Flaca" ("The Skinny Girl"), which was a huge hit in Spain and Latin America. The legendary Bonnie Raitt is featured with longtime friend, Malian musician Habib Koité on "Back Around " from her 2003 album Silver Lining. From Mauritania, Amar Sundy demonstrates the kinship between West African music and the blues. Eric Bibb, Rory Block and Maria Muldaur are no strangers to the blues. This trio of friends grew up together in New York City’s Greenwich Village during the turbulent 1960’s and incorporates the spiritual side of the blues on "Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down." Taj Mahal partners with The Culture Musical Club of Zanzibar to weave a narrative of melody and rhythm on "Catfish Blues." The Brazilian blues group Blues Etílicos brings their unique Brazilian-flavored blues to the table. Recognizing the blues was born in the Mississippi Delta Otis Spann, who played piano in Muddy Waters’ band for more than 20 years, belts out "I Got a Feeling".

A portion of Putumayo's proceeds from the sale of this CD will be donated to Music Maker Relief Foundation, Inc. An organization that helps true pioneers.

Review: John Lee Hooker used to say "the blues is a feeling," but this collection is proof that it's also a universal language. These 11 songs by musicians from South and North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa are a thoroughly enjoyable summation of the genre's ability to cut through cultural barriers to touch the heart. "Slide Blues" by Argentina's Botafogo could be a Delta relic if not for its Spanish lyrics. And singer Big Mama with harp man Victor Uris beautifully blur the lines between Catalonia and Chicago. The great pianist Otis Spann and the trio of Eric Bibb, Rory Block, and Maria Muldaur provide two straight-up shots of the style. The best tunes are outright cross-cultural collaborations.

Bonnie Raitt and Mali's Habibe Koité take the music to its deepest roots thanks to Koité's graceful kora-like acoustic guitar on "Back Around." The Unseen Guest, an Irish-Indian duo, bring microtonality to a blend of guitar, banjo, mandolin, and tabla in "Listen My Son." And Taj Mahal with the Culture Music Club of Zanzibar turn the standard "Catfish Blues" into a midnight howl that echoes from the Gulf of Mexico to the coast of the Indian Ocean. Mahal's guitar, a squeeze box, and a clutch of African stringed instruments pass rhythmic phrases and bursts of melody back and fourth until their musical points of origin are as delightfully blurry as a moonshine-fueled night in a Mississippi juke joint--or a dance hall in Zanzibar's Stone Town. --Ted Drozdowski

1. Listen My Son - The Unseen Guest
2. Canceriano Sem Lar (Clínica Tobias Blues) - Blues Etílicos
3. No Way Out
4. Flaca - Jarabe DePalo, Jarabe de Palo
5. Back Around - Bonnie Raitt
6. Ouallache - Amar Sundy
7. I Got a Feeling - Otis Spann
8. Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down - Eric Bibb, Rory Block, Maria Muldaur
9. Playing Mahjong
10. Slide Blues
11. Catfish Blues - Taj Mahal,