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Monday
Aug242009

OLATUNJI - Drums Of Passion (Legacy Edition)

Before 1959, if you wanted to hear music outside of the Anglo-American experience, you could go for the ersatz (though nonetheless charming) exotica of Les Baxter and Martin Denny, or find warmth in the recent calypso craze popularized by Harry Belafonte (who was criticized for his inauthenticity). Then along came Nigerian-born Babatunde Olatunji, discovered by John Hammond and asked to record the music he had been performing with the ensemble he had formed to fund his studies. The impact of these recordings is immeasurable–his influence is all over Serge Gainsbourg’s Percussions album (especially on “New York USA”), and “Jin-Go-Lo-Ba” was a perfect fit when covered on Santana’s monumental self-titled debut. That Drums Of Passion sold 5 million copies speaks to its accessibility, and lends credence to the claim that it was the record that started "world music". The production and remastering here is remarkably clear and spacious, with this Legacy Edition's second disc featuring more percussion and call-and-response singing on the enclosed sequel album, More Drums of Passion.

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