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Various Artists Putumayo Presents Mali

Let‘s just admit that-with its slogan "Guaranteed to make you feel good!"-Putumayo isn‘t exactly synonymous with street cred. Most of this album is exactly what you‘d expect: a lilting major chord fest with shaker percussion. However, the group Tinariwen, formed by Tuareg nomads living in Libyan refugee camps and fighting against Mali‘s government, has all the mattress-spring percussive force of early Wilson Pickett. In one of the album‘s more surprising moments, Issa Bagayogo-a traditional lute player with an incredible voice-contributes a club hit describing how hospitals need to take good care of the sick-backed by a surging discotheque beat.

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