The latest album from Senegalese superstar Youssou N'Dour headlines the new releases of a slow holiday week, while albums by flamenco guitarist Paco De Lucia and Jamaica's Lee Perry and his Upsetters lead the reissues list. Music from Greece is also coming down the pike.
Señor Coconut y Son Conjunto, the spoof-band brainchild of German conceptualist Uwe Schmidt, will release El Baile Aleman (The German Dance) (Emperor Norton), containing Latin-flavored versions of Kraftwerk's best-known songs, such as "Autobahn" (RealAudio excerpt).
Youssou N'Dour's Joko(From Villge to Town) (Sony International) is his first Western record since 1994's Wommat, (The Guide) which spawned the international hit single "7 Seconds," a duet with British singer Neneh Cherry. Joko was first released by Sony France in February. With no Sony-affiliated label willing to push the album in the United States, the label reportedly delayed Joko's release here in order to pursue alternatives.
N'Dour is backed, as usual, by his Super Etoile band. While there is his trademark, high-energy mbalax on tracks such as the Senegalese hit "Birima" (RealAudio excerpt), N'Dour makes an attempt to reach a crossover audience with guests like the Fugess' Wyclef Jean, on "How Come" (RealAudio excerpt), Sting and N'Dour's English mentor, Peter Gabriel.
One of eccentric Jamaican producer Lee Perry's most sonically ambitious albums, Return of the Super Ape is reissued on Cleopatra. EMI likewise recycles celebrated flamenco guitarist De Lucia's Grandes Guitarras del Flamenco (EMI).
Also from Jamaica, reggae singer Dennis Brown finds his Golden Years of the '70s collected on Cleopatra, while veteran Jamaican bandleader Byron Lee covers some of Trinidad's hottest carnival sounds on Soca Thriller (Dynamic Sounds). The transitional period between ska and reggae known as rock steady is recaptured by the compilation Top Rock Steady (Culture Press) and New York ska band the Bluebeats offer their second full-length album, Live and Learn (Moon).
The Mediterranean sun shines on World of Music: Italy (Hallmark), and the FM label looks to Greece for singer Christos Kouroudis' regional exploration, Songs of Thrace. The label also delivers rembetika, a kind of Greek blues, via singer Dimitris Atraidis' Amanedes & Rembetika. The more classically oriented Hellenic Music Archives Ensemble look to the past on Guardians of Hellenism, Vol. 11. FM also offers the compilation Sounds of Greece, Vol. 5.