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Putumayo and Global Soul

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I love the Putumayo World Music label – now ten years young – everything from their wildly eclectic, lovingly curated collections like Arabic Groove, World Lounge, Samba Bossa Nova, and African Groove, to their colorful, iconic cover art by Nicola Heindl, to their “it’s a small world after all” optimism.

I am particularly excited about their Global Soul collection, perhaps their most contemporary and zeitgeisty collection yet, sampling the organic, righeous neo-soul movement from around the globe, including Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America with a particular emphasis on a sparkling Fracophone groove: Melgroove, Doc Gyneco and China from France; Cameroonian discovery Kaïssa; French-Canadian singer Melanie Renaud; Saf Sap from Senegal – very cool yet invitingly warm, with none of the strindency of popular American R&B.

Besides the fine CD itself, I am very pleased to see Putumayo reaching into other media with an upcoming Global Soul Special on BET, May 23 @ 1pm, 9pm & Midnight EDT, and May 25 @ 1pm EDT, hosted by Speech of Arrested Development – I am also pleased to see BET stretching its mainstream urban content a bit. I’ll bet a bunch of middle-aged white people will watch BET for the first time – everybody wins.

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About Eric Olsen