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.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.