Various Artists

Dem natty dreads who first rocked it steady in Spanish Town, Jamaica, probably never imagined their music could translate out of patois and back into the language of their country's original colonizers. Pero sabes que, bredren? Putumayo's new Latin Reggae compilation proves the genre has wound its way all over the Hispanic world. Of the album's 11 contributors, only the Puerto Rican group Cultura Profética is based in the Caribbean. Patagonia is into some cool runnings, with Andean skankin' coming from both Argentina's Los Cafres and Chile's Gondwana. Sarazino, representing Ecuador, Algeria, and Canada, catches most of its fire from the center of the globe. However, Spain's six-song contribution, including hits from Macaco and Amparanoia, best illustrates reggae as a cultural unifier in a time of heavy migration. Nuf respect to Barcelona's Cubano-Argentine-Dutch quartet Black Gandhi for describing the plight of rafters through the Strait of Gibraltar on "Pateras." ¡Vale, t'a! So what does the album sound like? Roooooots, man! Sounds just like its jamdown, ital roots.


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