World Goes Pop

Various Artists

World Hits (Putumayo, 2007)

For its latest compilation, World Hits, Putumayo has assembled a great collection of songs that became hits either worldwide or regionally. Even though it is essentially a world music compilation, some of the songs went beyond world music circles, reaching pop music fans who normally are not exposed to world music.

The CD deceptively begins with two reggae tracks by Peter Tosh (with Mick Jagger) and Touré Kunda, making it seem reggae heavy. However, that is not the case. The third piece is the well known "7 Seconds" by Youssou N’Dour with Neneh Cherry.

Next come two songs with Latin beats, "Watermelon Man," by Mongo Santamaría and the ever popular "Oye como Va" by rock star Carlos Santana (if you like this song you should also check out the version by  Cuban timba band Klimax). 

Jamaican beats return with Jimmy Cliff’s "The Harder They Come." This is followed by "Lambada" by Kaoma.

I remember hearing "Pata Pata" by Miriam Makeba when I was very young. There is a reason why this song is still popular many years after it played on the radio.

South African music continues with the Zulu rock sounds of Johnny Clegg and Savuka. the song chosen for the compilation is "Scatterlings of Africa."

One of the first international African hits was "Soul Makossa" (another blast from the past) by Cameroonian sax player Manu Dibango .

The album ends with the Gypsy rumba song "Bamboleo" by the Gipsy Kings. The group played catchy rumba songs that many other Gypsy groups in Spain had popularized, but the marketing power of a major label made them famous.

Buy World Hits.