Put the books down for moment and listen awhile
Putumayo World Music (Putumayo World Music)

Putumayo has a handle on world music. If you’re planning a trip anywhere on the planet or have just returned from an adventure abroad, chances are this label has a compilation just for you. Recent releases include Congo to Cuba, a musical journey from Africa to Cuba, and World Lounge, which you might throw on for your next global-minded cocktail party. Keep a lookout for the label’s Asian grooves collection coming next month.
From Father to Son (AMMP)

If you like to be adventurous with your tune selection, then check out the latest disc from this legendary Indian artist. An 80-year-old sarod virtuoso, whom Carlos Santana calls “probably the best string player on the planet,” is accompanied on this release by his 19-year-old son, Alam. The album fades in smoothly with a simple strum of the 25-stringed instrument of choice and takes listeners to another time and place.
The Rough Guide To … (World Music Network)

Everything you can think of. Heading to Spain? Get a feel for the country with Flamenco. Planning a trip to the Big Easy? Pick up The Rough Guide to Louisiana. Going to Dublin? Get in the mood with Irish Folk. Bonus on these discs: They usually run an extra-long 70 minutes and average a reasonable $12. For the full catalog, check out www.worldmusic.net. — J.E.M