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THE BEST OF 2007 | WORLD MUSIC

Global connections

December 16, 2007|DON HECKMAN

Youssou N'Dour, "Rokku Mi Rokka" (Nonesuch). The irresistible appeal of N'Dour's emotion-laden voice and irresistibly body-moving music has reached well beyond the arena of African music. In "Rokku Mi Rokka" he explores the compelling links between Africa and the slave-generated sounds of the Western hemisphere.

Gilberto Gil, "Gil Luminoso" (DRG Brazil). Released in Brazil in 1999, "Gil Luminoso" is his first collection of solo voice and guitar performances. And the only question is why it took so long for these intimate sophisticated performances to find their way north.

Angelique Kidjo, "Djin Djin" (Razor & Tie Direct/Starbucks Entertainment). Although Kidjo can carry any program on her own, she once again has an all-star supporting cast via duets with, among others, Josh Groban, Peter Gabriel, Ziggy Marley and Carlos Santana. Don't miss her romp through "Gimme Shelter" with Joss Stone.

Shahram and Hafez Nazeri, "The Passion of Rumi" (Quartertone Productions). The extraordinary vocals of Iran's much-honored Shahram Nazeri are stunningly combined with his son Hafez's blend of Middle Eastern musical structures and the sounds and textures of Western orchestration.

Various artists, "Sound of the World" (Warner Classics). Accurately titled, it's a two-CD mini-tour through world music, featuring 33 artists from 30 countries -- among them Mali's Vieux Farka Toure, Berlin's 17 Hippies, Argentina's Gotan Project and Belize's Andy Palacio. An eminently listenable starting point for world-music newbies.

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