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The title of this CD is mildly misleading as this collection is not strictly homegrown Latin in its focus. There are also tracks by Manzanita, a Spanish Roma (Gypsy) player famous for his rumba flamenca (this is what the Gipsy Kings play); Kaoma (a group famous--or infamous--for its high-profile participation in the lambada craze); and Ricardo Lemvo, a Congolese star with an Afro-Cuban style redolent of Kinshasa during the 1960s. That being said, it is unlikely that these 10 tracks will disappoint anyone. It's prime stuff, ranging from Colombia's Toto La Momposina to Oscar de Leon from Venezuela, to the Bay Area's own Conjunto Céspedes. Latin music is a complicated subject and many would-be listeners are too intimidated to try it. This album was compiled by a fan, rather than a pundit, with a naive enthusiasm that's certain to help beginners feel relaxed enough for further explorations. --Christina Roden
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