Various Putumayo Presents; Latin Beat

After selling 27 million copies of their eternally popular compilations, Putumayo World Music has finally decided to move into World Wide Web music. Latin Beat, along with African Beat, are the NYC-based label's first forays onto iTunes, who now join such offbeat retailers as Whole Foods, Ten Thousand Villages and that hippie-girl-you-went-to-high-school-with's sarong store. Latin Beat is chockfull of bubbly, groove-inducing, pop-infused Latin music ― the yang to the Buena Vista Social Club's yin ― as artists like America's Charanga Cakewalk and Ecuador's Sarazino mix traditional salsa rhythms with pop-styled call-and-response. Columbia's Profetas, Jontre and Mariposa Solar all work off of nylon-stringed dance ballads, while Cuba brings the funk with a trio of head-scratching, Ambien/ambitious/ambidextrous dance songs, best represented by Moneda Dura's IDM-influenced "duet" with the late Ibrahim Ferrer. Latin Beat is about as hip as it is vanilla; it's the perfect release to bring Putumayo to a whole new audience of iPhone-touting soccer moms. (Putumayo)