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Various Artists
Putumayo World Music (

cd cover There're plenty of Cajun music collections on the market these days, but for the beginner Putumayo's Cajun offering is a good place to start. This disc features solely Cajun music, not Cajun music grafted with related genres like zydeco or swamp pop, which keeps the presentation focused for the first-time listener. Top-tier artists Filé, Charivari, Bruce Daigrepont, Hadley Castille, Steve Riley, David Doucet, and Balfa Toujours are all represented here with high quality selections that capture the music's power. The well-written liner notes cover the artists in depth as well as the music's history, something that's paramount if the listener is to appreciate what they're hearing. Additionally, there's a few 'alternative' cuts demonstrating how Cajun music can still be legitimate without being the prairie dancehall variety. In that vein, there is the swing-styled "Hey La Bas" from Raceland's Pott Folse and the folky "L'Oranger," a ballad historically sung by women in the home, from Breaux Bridge's Marce Lacouture. This is a well designed, carefully crafted collection, so let the bayou odyssey begin. Pirogue sold separately. - Dan Willging

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