In a strong week for Latin music, reggae and reissues, Indian sitar guru Ravi Shankar and Jamaican singer Gregory Isaacs are highlights, with sounds from Brazil, Italy and Cuba also hitting shelves.
Narada reissues Anglo-Indian vocal pioneer Sheila Chandra's 1984 Indipop release Out On My Own, featuring the hit title track (RealAudio excerpt). Flamenco-jazz violin and guitar duo Willie & Lobo release Siete (Narada), which includes "Seven Veils" (RealAudio excerpt). And the Klezmer Conservatory Band continues exploring Jewish musical history on Dance Me to the End of Love (Rounder).
Shankar, who recently turned 80, taught the Beatles' George Harrison to play the sitar. His concerts in the West awakened interest in Indian classical music during the '60s. Shankar's Three Ragas and Ravi Shankar in New York will be reissued by Angel.
Heartbeat reissues Dancing Floor by Isaacs, the roots-reggae vocalist whose singing career has lasted more than 30 years and includes the international hit "Night Nurse."
MCA Special products releases Latin singer, actress and former Miss Venezuela Maria Conchita Alonso's Lo Mejor de Maria Conchita Alonso, while Mexico is represented by pop star Lucia Mendez, whose 1999 album, Dulce Romance, gets its U.S. release on Uni/Lideres Entertainment. Veteran songwriter Armando Manzanero teams with singer Tania Libertad for Armando la Libertad on the same label. Spanish rocker Mikel Erentxun, best known for his Latin cover of the Smiths' "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out," releases Naufrgios on WEA International, which also re-releases his Abrazo del Erizo. New York's Puerto Rican salsa singer Johnny Rivera offers Estoy Aqui (RMM), and the Blue Note jazz label releases the compilations Story of Cuba and Story of Bossa Nova.
Heartbeat's new Jamaican releases include Dancehall Business by longtime dancehall singer Sugar Minott; Universal by young dancehall singer Richie Spice; a reissue of late reggae star Dennis Brown's 1993 Cosmic Force; and the Something Special: Ska Hot Shots collection by the late, legendary Jamaican sax player Roland Alphonso, whose instrumental work graced island releases from the 1960s on, including his take on "From Russia With Love" (Real Audio excerpt). Raggamuffins the Creators fuse hip-hop with the offbeat on Weight (Bad Magic).
Finally, Alessandro Safina, another Italian tenor in the Andrea Bocelli mold, makes his bid for international stardom with Insieme a Te (Polygram International).