In 2005, Putamayo's A&R man, Jacob Edgar, traveled to Turkey, a country that straddles Europe and Asia, hung out in its exotic nightclubs, and produced this compilation. If you were expecting to hear some belly-dancing, snake-charming tunes, this CD's 11 tracks will quickly disabuse you of those cliches. These selections exhibit a funky fusion of central Asia, the Balkans, and the Middle East that also includes rap, hip-hop, electronica, and even suggests Ballywood. Turkey's boy idol Tarkan serves up a spicy fluted-and-strings track on "Dudu," equally matched by Mustafa Sandal's Flamenco-flavored heartthrob number, "Kalmadi," with an evocative stringed instrument called a kanun
. The ladies also get their groove on, as evidenced by Sertab Erener's whispery soprano on "Buda" and Nazan Oncel's New York-style rap, "Atiyosun." Turkey is an impressive cultural blend of East and West, and nothing signifies that blend better than its pop music. --Eugene Holley, Jr.