CALEXICO El Gatillo [3:07]
MANU CHAO La Vida Tombola [3:12]
NOVALIMA Africa Lando [3:40]
BONGA Nguenda [3:12]
SONANTES Carimbo [3:35]
ROKIA TRAORE Zen [4:35]
BUIKA No Habra Nadie En El Mundo [3:51]
GAADE DIWANE DE BECHAR Taguaerebet [7:46]
LES ESPOIRS DE CONOTHIE La Loi [3:51]
CHIWONISO Matsotsi [5:05]
ISSA BAGAYOGO Poye [4:25]
DUB COLOSSUS Tazeb Kush [5:52]
UP, BUSTLE & OUT Yol Turkusu [3:16]
MONICA AKIHARY Hitam Manis [5:05]
DRISS EL MALOUMI, BALLAKE SISSOKO, RAJERY Toufoula [3:27]
RADIOKUADA Agua E’Nieve [4:37]
TARRUS RILEY One Two Order [5:09]
MIRIAM MAKEBA Umam’Uyajabula [2:20]
UMALALI Merua [3:12]
C. W. STONEKING’S KING HOKUM Don’t Go Dancin’ Down the Darktown Strutter’s Ball [3:58]
GANGBE BRASS BAND Un Ete A Vodelee [4:40]
MOSTAR SAVDAH REUNION Shukar Feriza [3:44]
CHANGO SPASIUM Tierra Colorada [4:20]
NYA Beni Beni [6:31]
SJAHN DURING Otro Mundo [5:43]
GORILLAZ Hong Kong [7:14]
FELIZ LAJKO Zaszlo [4:35]
OUMOU SANGARE Iyo Djeli [6:01]
KRIES Lepi Juro Kries Nalaze [3:42]
ANDREA PARODI ELENA LEDDA Ruzaju [4:32]
MARIZA Beijo De Saudade [4:17]
JAYME STONE & MANSA SISSOKO Tunya [4:52]
NKAN ELEDUA Ijo Nkan / Ise Mare O [4:33]
GOREALA Outro a.k.a. East [3:26]
WARNER CLASSICS & JAZZ 5186543652 [73:52 + 74:12]
The front cover of the disc proclaims its wares: “A selection of the best music from around the world by BBC Radio DJ Charlie Gillett: 34 Artists from 34 Countries”. What we have is a very mixed bag indeed. Some songs are pleasant, charming or interesting enough; some I rapidly fast-forwarded through; not one would I go far out of my way to hear again. I felt that the description “34 Artists from 34 Countries” was a little disingenuous – it leads one to believe that, given that the fact that there are 34 tracks, each track will feature a different artist from a different country. In actual fact, many of the tracks feature a number of artists from different countries, and even in the cases where one place is specified, Mali, for instance, is mentioned twice.
What there is, however, is tremendous variety – from traditional music, through jazz and rock to dance music. Some it is very experimental, such as Carimbo and Zen, whereas the more traditional Taguaerebet from the Algerian group Gaade Diwane de Bechar - dare I say it? - comes as a welcome relief, as does La Loi from Guinea in West Africa, which employs traditional instruments and rhythms. Other songs which impressed were Angolan singer Bonga’s evocative rendition of Nguenda, and Toufoula, which features three African musicians (from Morocco, Mali and Madagascar) on the oud, kora and valita. The second disc opens with the almost haunting song Umam’Uyajabula and also features Merua, a recording made of older-generation, mainly non-professional, singers of the Garifuna people. Mostar Savdah Reunion’s Shukar Feriza is enjoyable, as is the Croatian group Kries’s Lepi Juro Kries Nalaze, Ruzaju from two Sardinian singers, and Beijo De Saudade by Cape Verde singer Tito Paris.
I cannot say that any of the other pieces - incidentally, including Hong Kong, which Damon Albarn’s group Gorillaz made with local musicians during a trip to China - particularly impressed. La Vida Tombola features staggeringly uninspired lyrics about a footballer, and the eponymous song has the dubious attraction of having words invented on the spot by the singer.
The notes read more like a radio script than programme notes, and are, let us say, lacking in erudition. “The best music from around the world” is a misnomer, to say the least.
“The best music from around the world” is a misnomer, to say the least.