Top Picks: Putumayo's 'African Beat' CD, Spanish tenor on PBS, 'Bridesmaids' the DVD, and more

Putumayo launches new World Beat music series including 'African Beat', Spanish tenor Placido Domingo retrospective airs on PBS, Judd Apatow's comedy 'Bridesmaids' comes out on DVD, and more top picks.

The 'African Beat' album cover.
Joshua Kesslerof
The Klezmatics, in a quiet moment.

Irresistible rhythms

Mix some urban rhythms with traditional African music and you get hip-hop wrapped in Yoruba lyrics with a driving beat. That's 9ice's "Alapomeji Anthem," one of 11 songs on African Beat, a lush finger-tapping album in Putumayo's newly launched World Beat series. With a few more familiar names like Mali's Vieux Farka Touré to round out the tour of the continent, it will leave you hitting the repeat button. Now sold on iTunes.

Rom-com with a blue lining

Bridesmaids, the DVD, comes out Sept. 20. This raunchy, raucous valentine to a group of friends as they prepare for their part in a wedding is Hollywood golden boy Judd Apatow's most successful comedy to date. Definitely R-rated for gross-out humor, but still a film with a sweet heart.

Stomping party music

The exuberant new Klezmatics CD, celebrating playing 25 years of Jewish klezmer music together, is cause for celebration itself. Recorded at a New York concert, The Klezmatics: Live at Town Hall sounds like a party full of diverse people that you don't want to miss. The tunes swing from raucously traditional klezmer stomps to ballads both mournful and sweet, with the Caribbean-inflected "Rhythm + Jews" and the powerhouse spiritual "Elijah Rock" played with great passion.

Spanish Tenor talks

Placido Domingo: My Favorite Roles is a charming retrospective of this astonishingly productive and versatile musician. The singer/conductor/artistic director hosts an emotional journey through the moments and performances that are closest to his heart. Airs on PBS Sept. 23 at 9 p.m.

Frisell plays Lennon

The prolific and influential guitarist Bill Frisell has brought his unique talents to jazz, bluegrass, Americana, and folk. But the reason he began playing the guitar in the first place, like many of us, was The Beatles. All We Are Saying... is his deft and touching take on the John Lennon songbook, featuring imaginative arrangements of "Across the Universe," "Nowhere Man," and yes, "Imagine" – 16 songs in all. His crack quintet features Jenny Scheinman's country-inflected violin and Greg Leisz on emotive steel guitar. It's not easy to make such familiar songs sound brand-new, but Frisell and company pull it off with élan.

Tour the world's religions

Bill Moyers: The Wisdom of Faith With Huston Smith is a two-disc set of the PBS series that aired in the late 1990s. In five episodes, the veteran newsman and the religious scholar explore the world's great religions, from Islam to Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. Available from Athena on Sept. 20.

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