Ty Burr
February 14, 1992 AT 05:00 AM EST

Rhythms of the World Anthology

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
performer
Various Artists
distributor
Island Visual Arts
genre
musical

We gave it an B+

If the various forms of modern American pop feel like noisy dead ends to you, this video offers a way out. Compiled from segments of the BBC concert series of the same name, Rhythms of the World puts hosts Peter Gabriel and Bobby McFerrin in charge of a whirlwind gallop through some of the biggest names in African, Caribbean, and South American music. Sometimes too whirlwind: None of the performers get more than a few minutes of screen time, a shame when dealing with artists as charismatic as South Africa’s Mahlathini or Colombia’s Joe Arroyo. The sound quality varies as well, meaning that the scalding anger of Nigerian Fela Kuti’s Afro-funk barely comes through. But there are more than enough ear-openingly alive sounds here to whet newcomers’ appetites, and those already in the know will get a kick out of seeing their favorites in action, no matter how briefly. Pass this music by at your own risk: It’s what the 21st century is going to sound like. B+

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