steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Various Artists

"Putumayo Presents Global Soul" CD

Putumayo World Music

Genres: R&B, soul, dance

Aug 4 - 10 2003

Global Soul is an average, fun world music compilation. It is focused on modern, danceable tunes as opposed to more ethnic material. Songs come from France, South Korea, Brazil, Cameroon, Tanzania, Canada, South Africa, Germany, Senegal... the list goes on. But the focus is on a more mainstream, funky style that often lacks variety. Hence, the songs often sound similar despite being from different places on the map. Those expecting a varied sample of what the world has to offer may be disappointed to find that Global Soul's sound is surprisingly familiar.

However, this does not mean that there is nothing to enjoy on this CD. There are some downright awesome songs. Melgroove's "J'attendrai" (from France) is a funky soulful number reminiscent of late-90s R&B music, while Saf Sap's "Nit Kit" (from Senegal) is one of the catchiest tunes I've heard in a long while.  And that's just two of the thirteen cuts on this disc.

If you're looking for an extensive, semi-scholarly look at the music of different cultures around the world, Global Soul will not be for you. Alternatively, if you just want a fun mix of modern soul, dance, and R&B songs from Africa and Europe, this compilation will definitely satisfy.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 13 tracks, distributed by the label, released January 2003]