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on 24 July 2008
The title may have changed, but the format is thankfully the same. Charlie Gillett's annual two-CD round-up is now firmly established as one of the events of the summer, and this is another entertainingly varied guide to the expanding global music scene. Some of the artists are well known, so there's a reminder of the recent, exquisite work by Toumani Diabate and Orchestra Baobab, along with a tribute to South African reggae star Lucky Dube, whose murder was one of the tragedies of the year. Then there are the newer favourites, from tango star Melingo and the Israeli singer Yasmin Levy through to our own Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara, the American/Cambodian pop exponents Dengue Fever, or Brazil's most interesting new female singer, Ceu. There are some surprising omissions - where are the Garifuna Women's Project or Mor Karbasi? - but then there's welcome promotion for lesser-known artists, from Rajery, Madagascar's master of the valiha, an instrument constructed around a bamboo tube, to the Palestinian oud exponents Le Trio Joubran. But this year's real discovery is an unexpected, thoughtful ballad in Afrikaans by Gert Vlok Nel.
The Guardian, Friday July 4, 2008 ****
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on 24 July 2008
The annual globe-hopping compilation from writer and broadcaster Charlie Gillett is a showcase for both headline stars and obscure gems. It's no surprise, then, to find tracks from stars like Toumani Diabaté, Orchestre Baobab, Israels Yasmin Levy or Uzbek diva Sevara Nazarkhan, but the oddities are often as arresting. Here's a reggaematic Romanian love song from Germany and the yearning tones of Australia-based Tartar singer Zulya. Beautifully sequenced, the 34 tracks from 28 countries make clear that the world's music (not world music) is increasingly hybridised and perennially fascinating.

The Observer
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on 19 December 2014
I'm coming to this compilation well after it first came out, slowly working my way through all the Sound of the World compilations I can lay my hands on (check out my reviews for World 2004 and Sound of the World 2005). It's my belief that Charlie's compilations really were - and still are - the best world music compilations on the market, and this one proves no different. A fantastic 2-CD collection, gathering together artists nominated for the BBC World Music Awards 2007 and unknowns, those who missed out or still haven't quite 'hit it' big time - but who all have a mighty sound to them.

It's lovely, but it's just far too slow overall - the pace never quite picks up right from Kobo Town's 'Abatina' through to the end. Most of the songs are soft rockers, mellow and gentle. Charlie, as he stated here, always tries to get the right 'balance' in his selections, but it really ends up being an album you could only put on in a mellow mood, eg. post-midnight, rather than a variety of flavours, as in Sound of the World 2005 (still the best comp in my opinion).

The gems here come mainly from South America: Jorge Drexler (now gathering up awards and prizes) with his radical interpretation of Los Titas' 'Disneylandia', a beautiful meditation on what it means to live in a globalised world, and one of those songs that will never quite leave me once you've heard it. Axel Krygier's 'Donde Estaras Hermanita' is a hugely eccentric and weirded-out piece of Latin psychedelic fusion, with all instruments played by Axel himself. Other South American delights are DJ Rupture remixing Fosforo's 'Musquito' with a Zimbabewean guitar lick, and Ceu's snail-paced but sensual 'Bobagem'.

Elsewhere, 'Abatina' is a great choice to open the album with - a slow burning groover, revealing the sad fate of Bettina of whom 'few were inclined to believe her'. Soha shines on 'C'est Bien Mieux Comme Ca', and the female vocalist on Burkina Electric's 'Mdole' equally dazzles. I'm also slowly getting seduced by Awaadi's 'Sunagaal' (made clearer by Charlie's trans. of the lyrics in the booklet), Rajery's incredible performance on 'Mandehandeha' (again, read the booklet to find out why) and Feryal Oney's 'Aynali Koruk', definitely a party piece with all the whoops and cackles going on in the background!

But overall, a mostly slow album, nothing inspiring or anything which can jump out at you, unlike previous World compilations. I have a feeling things have changed too since the album was taken under the wing of Warner Classics & Jazz - there are pauses between tracks, rather than, as Hemisphere or Virgin allowed, one track to roll into the next, like some continuous mix.
I don't understand why the reviews went mad for 'Beautiful in Beaufort Wes' by Gert Vlok Nel - it's one of the most boring songs I've heard (though, then again, I'm not a Country and Western person personally). Toumani Diabete is excellent, though 'Ismael Drame' nearly sent me to sleep halfway through the first disc. 'Cha Cha' by Fufu-Ai is pretty unremarkable and Madilu System could have definitely been better represented than with 'Jalousie'. Simphiwe Dana stood out for me - I've since been an avid listener of her work in more detail, and am stunned why she hasn't picked up more awards and recognition. The cut of 'BantU Biko Street' included here doesn't do justice to her - go and have a listen to the original on the album of the same name.

Overall, a great compilation, a big weaving together of styles, ideas and musicians from across the world - but nothing arresting, which'd make you stop in your tracks or perhaps change your listening habits around. A very kind 3/5!
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on 24 July 2008
Charlie Gillett's annual compilations should need no introduction by now.
The latest edition strikes a valedictory note -- the final track amounting to a farewell from the murdered South African reggae star Lucky Dube. There is no avoiding the hyperactive Manu Chao these days, but for sheer substance and guile, it is hard to beat the young Brazilian vocalist CéU. Daniel Melingo -- an eccentric but charismatic Tom Waits-ish tango artist, who made an impressive South Bank debut at La Linea a couple of months ago -- rightly makes the cut as well. Orchestra Baobab represent Africa's old guard, but there is no sign yet that Gillett has lost his knack of unearthing gems from off the beaten track.
The Sunday Times, July 6, 2008
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on 20 November 2014
good mix, some great, some might be considered a tad so-so
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on 11 February 2014
Have a go its brilliant .From the first song I was hooked. .No need for an understanding of other languages. Buy it it is a delight.
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