World Music Network’s original artist label, Riverboat Records, was dreamt up twenty-five years ago on a leaky barge on the Thames by husband and wife team Phil and Sandra. Inspired to enlighten the minds of Western music fans to encompass lesser trodden sound paths, the duo invested their time, energy and passion into setting up an independent record label that supported new music from across the globe. Some of the first ground-breaking releases included tracks from Zimbabwe, Calcutta and Colombia.
Since those early days the World Music Network umbrella has expanded to shelter sister labels Rough Guides, Introducing and Think Global. Riverboat spotlights the careers of now legendary global artists like Mory Kanté, Debashish Bhattacharya, Sierra Maestra and Etran Finatawa. Rough Guides has become known as the ‘bible of world music’ offering, via its geographical compilation format, an anthropological perspective and intellectual cross-section of a country or region’s musical traditions. Introducing launches debut albums of previously undiscovered world music artists while Think Global releases albums in association with Amnesty International and Oxfam combining the ideals of reducing poverty and defending human rights with an appreciation for superb cutting edge music from around the world.
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Continuing the legacy of responsible business World Music Network has recently signed up to ‘1% For The Planet’ and pass on one per cent of their turnover to sustainability-oriented non-profit environmental organisations. Along with reducing the imacts of CD and vinyl packaging by embracing eco-friendly FSC cardboard cases that are free from plastic, World Music Network still stands at the vanguard of responsible and innovative business thinking.
Their album subscription service keeps fans in stock of their newest releases. Battle of the Bands gives a voice to unsigned grass-roots artists such Malian guitar rebel Anansy Cissé and avant-garde Polish jazzers Ch?opcy Kontra Basia.
World Music Network’s vast catalogue has to be heard to be believed. Devour re-discovered blues, uncharted Caribbean grooves, West African jewels and psychedelic Bollywood tunes.