World 2002 (Compiled By Charlie Gillet)
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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
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In particular, the first cut on CD #1 by Mariza is a fine introduction to Fado, the traditional singing of Portugal. This was my first exposure to Fado, and I will be back for more, probably from Mariza's "Fado em Mim" album, that's for sure.
I also really liked the cut "Hulum" by Amal Murkus, a Palestinian singer. Sainkho Namtchylak, from the Tuva in Central Asia sings alluringly, with examples of what sounds like overtone singing here and there in "Dance of the Eagles." It's mysterious and exotic, but entirely listenable. It's one of my favorites on the set.
One disappointment; I did not think the cut by the well-known Ladysmith Black Mambazo was particularly good. I like this group (made famous by Paul Simon on his "Graceland" album) but this cut did not do them justice. I found it somewhat flat and fragmented.
All in all, if you want an intro to World Music or a good sampler collection, this is an excellent 2-CD set. I can't wait to hear next year's collection.
The way the cuts are placed in the CD's flow and you're on your way into the world of worldly music. I cannot recommend it highly enough, it needs more than 5 stars! Not to be missed!
I have discovered some new types of music that I now would like to explore further. My only complaint is that the music track selections do not always show the best offerings of a particular musician or group, even from a single album or year. Nonetheless, it is an enjoyable album.