Putumayo – Cover the World

front

This album offers 12 enlightening cover versions of Western pop tunes, as performed by artists from places like France, Spain, South Africa, Germany, and Mali. It’s always instructive to glimpse how one culture’s music is perceived by another, whether through a funhouse mirror, from under a microscope, or even face-to-face. The performances gathered here range from misguided (Albert Pla’s bizarre Spanish language take on Lou Reed’s “Take A Walk On The Wild Side”) to hilarious (Fatal Mambo’s salsa interpretation of Mungo Jerry’s “In The Summertime”) to a delightful breath of fresh air (Malian girl group Les Go’s version of Hall & Oates’ “I Can?t Go For That”). Nenes’ earnest Japanese-language rendition of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry” is laced with plangent plucked samisens and is somehow extremely touching. Other attempts are less effective, but at least none of them come across as cynical and all are worth a listen. 

 

 

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