Charlie Gillett is one of the most influential names on the UK world music scene. His radio shows on London Live and the World Service bring to light some of the very best global beats, and he has been responsible for supporting and breaking some of the new biggest stars of the last few years. After the resounding success of last year's World 2001
collection, Charlie's been busy again putting together the double CD World 2002
. Highlights include French tango/beats wizards the Gotan Project, Ethiopian diva Gigi (produced by Bill Laswell), West African dub from Damon Albarn's Mali Music
project, the Spanish flamenco passion of Estrella Morente, BBC Radio award winner Djelimady Tounkara, award winners Yat-Kha from Tuva, North African hot cookie Souad Massi and Charlie's current favourite, Palestinian Amal Markus.
Back now for the third successive year, Charlie Gillett's World 2002
selection--or rather, his radio listeners' selection through BBC London and the World Service--rounds up the best and/or most popular world music of the past 12 months. So World 2002
contains no surprises: everybody you expect to be there, is there, from Djelimady Tounkara to Los de Abajo, Les Negresses Vertes to Yat Kha. Gillett's taste is excellent, which means that absolutely everything is beguiling in its own particular way; he's also kept to the sunny side of the street, so that even his fado singer (Mariza) sounds quite jolly. Gillett's finger to the wind leads him into the year's most interesting cross-cultural experiments--Damon Albarn in Mali, and the French-Argentinian Gotan Project; the stuff he finds in Spain--Abya Yala--is a fascinating blend of muezzin plus car horns plus electrified oud. His Brazilian trouvaille (Tom Ze) starts with what sounds like an amplified toothbrush; several of these tracks represent such an eclectic mix that if you didn't know their provenance you'd find them totally unplaceable. Everyone will have their favourites: the new flamenco queen Estrella Morente and the joyful confluence of Bob Broznan with the multi-talented Rene Lacaille are particularly outstanding. --Michael Church