Mondo Platinum
[ark21]   review from derek  

Derived from international artists who have all gone platinum in their homelands, Mondo Platinum features the best of this label's artists compiled into one giant sampling of their roster. Of course, it must be remembered Mondo Melodia exists to bring the world's pop stars to you, and while this works in certain instances, in others it does nothing more than foster overproduced, under-talented musicians more distance in their questionable careers. This compilation offers the best and worst of them.

Starting off strong with Burundi's Khadja Nin, her sexy demeanor and swaying melodies of "Mama" gets the fingers snapping smoothly. George Dalaras, who has released some 50 albums in his native Greece, represents well with a slowly harmonic "I'll Seek You Out," followed soon by rai demigod Khaled and his crossover hit "Alsha."

The collection turns shady midway, with weak contributions by Emma Shapplin doing Dante no justice with "The Inferno," nor does Notis Sfakianakis inspire in the overly produced "Gipsy Day." By the time track ten comes around, however, we've hit rock bottom, as Alannah Myles's "Alibi" is a strong contender for Sap of the Year with fellow Canadian Bryan Adams's "Everything I Do.," an overtly boring pop smash that could have well been rejected from the St. Elmo's Fire soundtrack.

Fortunately that's the worst of it as the youngster Faudel is solid with "La Vaise," as well as fellow Algerian Rachid Taha teaming up with Afrobeat super-son Femi Kuti crooning "Ala Jalkoum." Hakim, Egypt's ambassador to the world, takes a strong track in "Sketches of Egypt," and, as usual, Cheb Mami is flawless with "Baida."

Of all the Mondo releases, this is a decent selection as it allows you know which discs to cop and which to leave to wither in the dust of bargain bin boredom. A few pointers for the restless at heart: Cheb Mami's Dellali, Khadja Nin's Ya, Mondo Africa, and Mondo India, featuring all tracks by Bollywood legend A.R. Rahman, are all sure bets.

ethnotechno rating: 3 out of 5
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  1. Khadja Nin :: Mama (pick)
  2. George Dalaras :: I'll Seek You Out
  3. Zucchero :: II Volo
  4. Khaled :: Aisha (pick)
  5. Emma Shapplin :: The Inferno
  6. I Muvirni :: Quantu Omu Po
  7. Nitis Sfakianakis :: Gipsy Day
  8. Andy & Soraya :: Cerca del Corazon
  9. Haris Alexiou :: Automn
  10. Alannah Myles :: Alibi
  11. Foudel :: La Valse
  12. Cheb Mami :: Baida (pick)
  13. Rachid Taha with Femi Kuti :: Ala Jalkoum
  14. Hakim :: Sketches of Egypt (pick)