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by World Music Network June 25, 2012


New Rough Guides: Highlife + Celtic Lullabies

WMN brings you two specially compiled albums for two whole different moods; The Rough Guide to Highlife is perfect for some good old fashioned dancing, and The Rough Guide to Celtic Lullabies will calm children in an instance (not to forget adults!) with its soothing and tranquil melodies.

Celtic lullabiesAfter the great success of The Rough Guide to World Lullabies, we are happy to introduce The Rough Guide to Celtic Lullabies. With the green Celtic landscape as a source of inspiration for folk musicians, this latest compilation of songs will not just soothe babies to a peaceful sleep, but also stands alone as an exceptional collection of Celtic Folk music. The melodies from the harps, fiddles, banjo’s and voices create a continual connection between countries; highlights include American fiddle player Liz Carroll, Breton singer and harpist Alan Stivell, Canadian-Celtic songstress Teresa Doyle, Scottish champion banjoist Alastair McDonald, and German electro-harpist Nadia Birkenstock

Listen/order the album here

The Rough Guide to Celtic Lullabies is smoothly accompanied with a similar themed bonus CD Irish Harp lullabies where esteemed Irish harpist Gráinne Hamblyexplores the lullabies from her country even further, with the harp as her sole instrument. The result is a peaceful and delicate work of art. Watch in the video below a beautiful harp duet between Gráinne Hambly and William Jackson from a live performance at the Somerset Folk Harp Festival in 2010.


Jam-packed with some of the biggest hitters in Highlife history, this Rough Guide explores the diversity of the African dance music which was especially popular in the early twentieth century. Originally from Ghana and Sierra Leone, the catchy music was influenced by American jazz rhythms as well as African roots music. Although several varieties of highlife exist, in its early days the music was performed in large orchestras to entertain the colonial elite in high-class clubs, hence the name Highlife

The tracks on the album include artists that have become famous for their contribution to highlife such as Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe who can be seen in the video below, Celestine Ukwu and Dr Victor Olaiya. Note the opening track by Fela Kutias it uncovers the start of his musical career; it was not in Afrobeat, the genre he is so known in, but Highlife instead. As the man himself sings; It’s Highlife Time!

Listen/order the album here

What’s more; The Rough Guide to Highlifecomes with a great re-issue of a classic Riverboat Records Seprewa Kasa.This fantastic acoustic album is centred around the seprewa,a Ghanaian instrument closely related to the Kora also nicknamed  the ‘soul of highlife’.

Here's the official music video of one of the tracks on The Rough Guide To Highlife; 'Osondi Owendi' by Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe: