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Various Artists: Global Voices

The 3-CD Global Voices (Music of the World 146, 147, 148; 49:28, 57:37, 54:56) compilation is an ambitious set of concept albums offering a pan-ethnic overview of vocal music. Yes, it’s a gargantuan topic of study, dating back to the beginning of time and including every cranny of the known world, but the package does a nice job of doing a tidy survey of an unwieldy subject.

Part of the trick is in the careful organization, and each CD focuses on a particular category-traditional, sacred, contemporary-while the ethnic focal points from track-to-track come from all over the map, literally. Monkey chants, Sufi music, Bobby McFerrin and yodelling get equal time, along with countless other stops in the ongoing evolution of the human voice in the service of music. Universality is the intended point, as we slip fluidly from one world tradition to the next.

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