BBC World Service DJ Charlie Gillet, who hosts the weekly World of Music programme, digs deep into his musical library to come up with a double CD collection that is scintillating, compelling and easy to listen to.
Music is certainly an international language and it is nice to see so much talent from all over the world collected here, playing not just traditional pieces but also more modern interpretations that move through everything from jazz and hip-hop to rock.
Gillet has done a masterful job with the liner notes as well, allowing listeners to find out more about the artistes represented on the album as well as providing helpful hints on exploring their music further, including album suggestions and the like.
The artistes chosen are also a pretty mixed bunch, ranging from the internationally renowned ones like Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Tinariwen to those still making a name for themselves.
Legendary Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure, who died in March 2006, can also be heard on the album with his son Vieux Farka Toure using some samples of his father’s work on Diallo, an interesting exploration of traditional Malian music interspersed with the rhythms and sounds of blues rock and electric guitars.
Another interesting find on this album is Balkan Beat Box, based in America but with Syrian and Israeli roots. Their song Habibi Min Zaman is a lively, upbeat and infectious tune that will definitely get the feet tapping.
Elsewhere, Mexican outfit Los De Abajo tip its hat to the Fun Boy Three’s 1983 British hit The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum) by turning it into a Spanish ensemble anthem, complete with trombones and trumpets. Definitely an interesting take on an old classic.
Gillet’s arrangements of the tracks couldn’t be better and he allows the mood to grow and swell, taking listeners on a journey that can be melancholic at times but this is soon lifted with the more light-hearted numbers represented on the album.
I enjoyed the album immensely and would say that it is a very good introduction to the varied sounds of world music.
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