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Amazon - Top Ten World Albums Of 2003

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The 10 Best International CDs of 2003

1. Bembeya by Bembeya Jazz National

In 1961, a group of musicians from Guinea formed the 12-piece band, Bembeya Jazz Nacional, after the river that runs through their hometown, Beyla. It celebrated the spirit of their 3-year-old, newly independent nation, combined traditional and popular African musical genres with Afro-Cuban ... Read more

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2. Ghana Soundz: Afrobeat Funk & Fusion in 70's by Various Artists

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During the 1960s, Highlife was the reigning musical craze in Ghana, but Western-derived rock and R&B influences were seeping in, creating a daringly experimental jazz-funk scene. Big bands combined home-grown drumming and chanting with cheeky, slapping bass lines, motel-bar organs, and guitars that... Read more


3. Mali Lolo: Stars of Mali by Various Artists

The West-African nation of Mali is home to an astonishing variety of musical traditions, dating back to ancient times. That some of it sounds so familiar to Western ears is not surprising, as untold thousands of slaves who ultimately made landfall in North and South America or the Caribbean began... Read more


4. La Revancha del Tango [bonus Disc] by Gotan Project

Released in Europe in 2001, La Revancha Del Tango’s sexy combination of chillout programming and authentic tango music became a lounge favorite and led to massive sales. Lightning struck twice when it was released two years later in the States--the domestic debut attracted the attention of... Read more


5. Sepia by Coco Mbassi

Other than Manu Dibango's soul-infused 70s hit, Soul Makossa, and Henri Dikongue's latter-day singer-songwriterly poetics, artists from the West African nation of Cameroon are still relatively unfamiliar to Western audiences. But the area is home to some of the continent?s most vital and... Read more


6. Mares Profundos by Virginia Rodrigues

Here on Mares Profundos, Brazilian contralto Virginia Rodrigues creates her own superb versions of sambas written in the 1960s by the illustrious team of lyricist Vinícius de Moraes and composer Baden Powell. This includes all eight of their famed Afro-sambas, which emphasized samba's African... Read more


7. Hawa Hawa by Shujaat Husain Khan

Sitarist Shujaat Husain Khan may be best known to Western audiences as part of Ghazal, a highly regarded North Indian-Iranian classical music duo that has recorded a handful of albums, but in India he is also recognized as a young member of the Khan family, an acclaimed dynasty of musicians that... Read more


8. Trio [ENHANCED] by Vasen

The Swedish acoustic band Vasen has been operating as a quartet ever since percussionist Andre Ferrari joined in 1996. But after trying out some new material while on tour, they have decided to record another album as a string trio. They perform here on nyckelharpa (a hurdy-gurdy-like instrument),... Read more


9. Carnabailito by Gaby Kerpel

Composer Gaby Kerpel, of the aerial performance art/interactive theater troop De La Guarda, makes his solo debut with Carnabailito. Kerpel studied music during his youth in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but like his theatrical collaborators, he has tossed out the rule book of convention. Instead, he... Read more


10. Congo Life by Kekele Li

Congolese pop is considerably more varied than many people realize, ranging from the classic two-part extravaganzas made famous by Franco and his contemporaries, to the relentless pace and shimmering, hummingbird-like guitar licks of "speed soukous." Kekele harks back to the former tradition,... Read more

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