It's sad to say, but most people's only exposure to Afrobeat music may still be Paul Simon's bland 1986 album, "Graceland." While that record chronicled one American's musical journey to Africa, "Safarini" chronicles just the opposite by exploring the music of African immigrants who have moved to the Northwestern U.S. and absorbed some of its musical heritage. The result is a beautiful blend of African musical and oral styles, and touches of American pop.
The songs range from the playful oral cadences of "Tcheni Tcheni" to the more familiar Afropop of Ghana jazzman Obo Addy. Zimbabwean singer Lora Chiorah-Dye delivers a spellbinding, multivoiced Shona folk song called "Nyoka Musango," and her spare reading of "God Bless Africa" is a fitting closer to an album rich in African musical traditions.