Iroko: Ilu Orisha

For another view of the far-reaching effects of African musical tradition, check out Iroko’s Ilu Orisha (Interworld 924; 48:05), an entrancing document of the Bata drumming tradition. Recorded in Cuba, the album represents the music, drumming and chants descended from the West African Yoruban culture and religion, while also celebrating the roots of Afro-Cuban tradition, which has left its mark on jazz and other musics around the world. Lazarro Galarraga and Bill Summers lead the group, as vocalists and drummers, on two dozen songs appealing to the Orishas (gods in the Yoruban religion). The purity of the recording is historically intriguing and emotionally involving, whatever the listener’s connection to the spiritual underpinnings of the music.