Various Cote D'Ivoire: West African Crossroads

Could there be any other name for a compilation of Ivoirien sounds? At the crossroads of commerce in West Africa for centuries, in modern times it has been a destination for recording artists across the continent for its superior recording facilities and music infrastructure. It's no surprise that of all the African Pearls collections released by Syllart (Ibrahim Sylla's catalogue of big African hits since the '60s), this one contains the best recording fidelity across the board. It's a diverse collection too, both pointing towards the Americas and within Africa, and displaying everything from boogaloo to calypso to power ballads. Starting with the heavily Latin-influenced "Pecoussa" by Francois Lougah and "Anowah" by Ernesto Djedje, these tracks might not have sounded out of place on American R&B radio in the wake of Camerounian Manu Dibango's "Soul Makossa" success in the early '70s. The slow jams are exactly that, with breathy vocals, slick keyboards and '80s production creating pure pop confections. (Syllart)