Colombia

In his homage to Colombia—the country from which his label takes its name—Putumayo founder Dan Storper attempts to include representative music from the country's most important areas.

In his homage to Colombia—the country from which his label takes its name—Putumayo founder Dan Storper attempts to include representative music from the country's most important areas. A daunting task, indeed, but the results are admirable, considering the constraints of only 12 tracks. Colombia boasts such gems as Lucho Bermúdez's famous gaita "Fiesta de Negritos" and Gabriel Romero's cumbia "Las Lavanderas." The album marries tradition (Toto La Momposina singing "Oye Mamita") with the contemporary approach to older rhythms promulgated by such new acts as Grupo Bahía—playing currulao—and Tulio Zuloaga—doing vallenato. And, of course, there's the hardcore salsa of such bands as Fruko y Sus Tesos and La Sonora Dinamita. The end result can pull you off your chair and onto the dancefloor; at the same time, it forces you to ponder the rhythmic and instrumental versatility of virtually every track.—LC