Arguably the most exciting Afro-pop record of the '90s, The Journey takes listeners on two trips. One traces singer Maryam Mursal's escape -- children in tow -- from chaotic, drought-plagued Somalia, crossed the desert with her children in tow, and found her way to the Danish embassy in Djibouti and asylum in Europe. The second trip is purely sonic. Abetted by UK producers Simon Emmerson and Martin Russell, The Journey tracks popular dance music and today's crazy-cloth, cross-cultural vibe back to one of its original ports of call -- East Africa. Imagine bringing jungle back to Africa or moving Bristol's trip-hop sound somewhere south of Cairo. The fortysomething refugee Mursal fronts a Danish band with ace traditional instrumentalists alongside crack programmers. The opener "Lei Lei," with its horn section that seems at once a Tanzanian wedding band and a Portishead sample, is worth the price of admission. Mursal's husky voice climbs elaborate Arabic scales and gets down to Mississippi moans, bridging opium dens, juke joints and chill rooms.