'An invaluable contribution to the deeper understanding of global musical traditions.' Songlines
Twenty-five years ago, World Music Network released its first compilation, the inaugural Rough Guide To World Music. A quarter of a century, and 369 Rough Guides later, World Music Network founder, Creative Director and Head Selector Phil Stanton has thumbed through the archives to put together this special anniversary edition.
The pre-cursor to World Music Network was Phil's first imprint, Riverboat Records, founded in 1989. At that time Phil was living on a leaky barge somewhere along London's Grand Union Canal, hence the name which stuck. This Rough Guide is compiled purely from Riverboat Records releases. With tracks from all over the world featured, this album is testament to Phil and the team's commitment to releasing lesser-known artists from places often under-represented in the Western market. Over the year's Phil's company at large has come to be known as World Music Network, with both Riverboat and the Rough Guide's compilations housed under its roof.
In line with the label ethos, this album promotes deeper understanding of musical traditions and global cultures, perfectly demonstrated by the meditative album opener 'Sunno' by Rafiki Jazz, a band with members who span four different continents. Their music includes some of the world's most distinctive folk instruments including the West African kora, Caribbean steelpan, Indian tabla, Brazilian berimbau and Arabic ney. Likewise, the truly international ensemble Alba Griot's sound combines Celtic (Scottish) and Mandique (Malian) traditions with blues, jazz and close harmony vocals.
Despite the changing face of the music industry and the difficulties faced by record labels, World Music Network remain committed to releasing lesser-known music that deserves to be heard, and this seamless collection underlines both the Rough Guide's status as the number one compilation label and the incredible talent that World Music Network continues to bring to the fore. From the virtuoso musicianship of Calcutta's guitar master Debashish Bhattacharya and Palestinian buzuq player Ramzi Aburedwan to the irresistibly danceable grooves of Klezmer-Balkan band She'Koyokh and Chinese folk rockers Shanren, this is a jaw-dropping selection, and a fitting 25th anniversary edition.
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