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Malouma: Desert of Eden

Some of the most ear-tweaking musics from around the world have a vaguely disorienting effect on the uninitiated because of our inability to exercise our human instincts to analyze, to qualify. We can’t quite place the patina of musical attributes within a geo-stylistic framework we understand, and the effect can be both confusing and liberating.

That sort of heady culture-mash effect accounts for part of the charm of Malouma’s Desert of Eden (Shanachie 64088; 59:10), by the bold, eclectic singer from the African nation of Mauritania. The country, bordering Algeria, Mali and Senegal, is certainly one of the lesser known corners of the globe, in terms of its profile in the world music scene, but Malouma stands to put the nation on the larger international listening map.

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