Various Africa Boogaloo: the Latinization of West Africa

Africa Boogaloo is a compilation of West African songs from the '60s and '70s, some obscure, some not so much, heavily influenced predominantly by Cuban music. This is readily apparent in Orchestre N'Guewel's version of "Mi Guajeo" or Laba Sosseh's "Guantanamo," both Cuban standards. The former, in particular, is unlike its schlocky tourist-market counterparts found on every Cuban compilation these days, differentiated by its complete ownership of the song, characterized chiefly by a wandering alto sax and relaxed vocals. Rhythmically, the marriage of Africa and Cuba here continues an exchange as old as the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, but to experience the African side of it is a real treat. The rumbas, calypsos, jazz and blending of cross-genre pop styles (check out "Rampa Rampa," with an organ sound right out of Jackie Mittoo's bag of tricks) make for an excellent record to get your groove on. Also out on vinyl. (Honest Jon's)