Various Artists

Music From the Chocolate Lands

The Mayans drank chocolate medicinally as early as 600 B.C., and today it is grown in every tropical region on Earth. There are few consumables that are so universally enjoyed, and therefore a worthy basis for a world-music compilation. (Putumayo already has released volumes on coffee and tea.) The 12 tracks on this disc originate from locales as diverse as Brazil, Haiti, the Ivory Coast, Hawaii and Cuba. Standouts include the strong vocals of African singer Dobet Gnahoré, the delicate sounds of the kora (a West-African harp) heard on Taffetas’ “Yay Balma,” and the sizzling rhythms of East Los Angeles’ Ozomatli. The disc ends with the legendary trumpet playing of Cuba’s Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros. Taken as a whole, the CD is as mellow and smooth as a bar of Dagoba organic chocolate.