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What world beat should be

The Laura Love Collection
The Laura Love Collection
By Laura Love

Putumayo World Music: 1995

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This review first appeared in the May 12, 1995 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

Laura Love has done what few musicians in history have ever managed: Created her own genre.

She calls it "Afro-Celtic," but forget the marketing schemes and listen to the music. It's an organic melding of styles – no seams to trip over, no forcing disparate influences together simply for effect. Blending African and Latin rhythms with Irish and Scottish melodic themes, Love's music can serve as a practical definition of what world-beat music should be.

Of course, Love's songwriting skills and exceptional singing go a long way toward making this project work. Possessed of a strong if nasal voice and a great collection of catchy songs, Love ignores the cliches and stereotypes that dog so much of what passes as world beat. Her lyrics are as pointed and insightful as the best folk songs (without any of the preachiness one too often finds there), and her songs lend themselves well to extended instrumental soloing, as in jazz or blues.

There's not really anything here to not like – it's as fresh a sound as as hit the scene in some time.