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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Maybe your loot included some new music. But if you're searching for more, we are sampling the best music of this year as chosen by our far-flung music experts. And today, we have a selection from Banning Eyre, senior editor of Afropop.org. He says the most significant world music album of the year, one that he keeps going back to, is called "Watina."

Beyond its catchy toe-tapping rhythm is a serious effort by the singer Andy Palacio to preserve the language and culture of some people from the nation of Belize. They're called the Garifuna people.

BANNING EYRE: It's really a breakthrough album. It's an album that takes years of work that has been going into trying to create a modern sound from Garifuna culture.

(Soundbite of "Watina")

Mr. ANDY PALACIO (Singer): (Singing in foreign language)

EYRE: The Garifuna are - go back to the literally the 1700s when African slaves escaped from a ship-wrecked and swam to the island of Saint Vincent. And these artist Andy Palacio has managed to take the language, the rhythms, the melodies and the whole just sort of feeling of Garifuna experience and turned it into something incredibly soulful.

(Soundbite of song, "Watina")

Mr. PALACIO: (Singing in foreign language)

EYRE: One that I think is just a song that's bound to last as the one Miami. It's not really got Miami, it's kind of a, it's a term referring to the coastal territory right by the beach, which is where the Garifuna traditionally lived, and it's all being bought out, taken over and turned into condos and high-rises and so they refer to it as Miami.

And he sings this very impassionate protest against that phenomena and it's just a gorgeous song.

(Soundbite of song, "Watina")

Mr. PALACIO: (Singing in foreign language)

EYRE: There's a sample from the best world music album of the year according to Banning Eyre, senior editor of Afropop.org.

If you'd like to explore his top 10, the world music picks and more than two dozen other takes on the best CDs of this year, go to our new music Web site, npr.org/music.

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