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BEST OF 2006 / POP MUSIC | WORLD MUSIC / DON HECKMAN

Redefining age-old traditions

December 17, 2006|DON HECKMAN

Ali Farka Toure, "Savane" (Nonesuch). The Malian singer-guitarist's final album (he died of bone cancer in March) is one of his best, a superb example of his primal linkage of African music and the American blues.

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Anouar Brahem, "Le Voyage de Sahar" (ECM). The trio of oud master Brahem, pianist Francois Couturier and accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier creates music that floats in space, evocatively calling up references to classical music, jazz, Arabic modes and the indefinable beauties of spontaneous improvisation.

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Hossein Alizadeh & Djivan Gasparyan, "Endless Vision" (World Village). Recorded in 2003 during a concert at Tehran's Niavaran Palace, the atmospheric tar playing of Alizadeh and the sensual duduk work of Gasparyan are featured in a spellbinding contemporization of Persian and Armenian traditional music.

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Camille, "Le Fil" (Narada). Using her voice as the primary instrument through extensive multi-tracking, French singer-performance artist Camille Dalmais produces songs that are simultaneously witty, sweet and wicked, in styles that transcend genres and cultures.

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Sara Tavares, "Balance" (Times Square). The Portuguese-Cape Verdean singer-guitarist transforms traditional mornas and coladeiras into strikingly contemporary form with subtle infusions of rap, reggae and a sprinkling of jazz rhythm.

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