I am no expert on what we now call world music, but this double CD set certainly represents the best of the first wave of this genre back in the 80s. With representative acts from the African, Indian and South American continents, it showcases artists who are now household names in the UK, such as Khaled, Baaba Maal, Gilberto Gil, Bhundu Boys and many more. True, it will be a rather exotic household where these names will mean anything, but you have to remember that back in the 80s we weren't as world aware as we are now. On the other hand on these two discs are a selection of some of the most wonderful music anyone has ever created - some of it so insatiably danceable that it makes Strictly Come Dancing look dull, some of it is spiritually intense, literally a verbal history of a culture being passed down to new generations. And all of it is just beautiful. Buying this set saves you a lot of air fares.
Various Artists - 80s World Music Classics (Nascente) Gosh, this is good. Compiled by various aficionados, and prompted by a conversation with the late (and utterly great) Charlie Gillett, this two disc set provides a wonderful overview of 1980's World Music, much of it instantly familiar to both hardcore fans, and those of us who were merely curious, who flirted with the concept and bought records by The Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir and the Bhundu Boys (both represented here).
Other giants of the genre(s) are littered throughout the collection - Ofra Haza, Baaba Maal, Orchestra Baobab, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Youssou N'Dour, etc. - often performing material that strikes directly at the memory centres which control the hairs on the back of the neck. Sure it's a trip down memory lane, and quite possibly an exercise in pure nostalgia, but we're hardly overwhelmed with musical reminders of such quality and variety, and astonishingly, it still sounds as vibrant and fresh as it did all those years ago.
Other reviewers give an eloquent account of the variety and quality that is on offer here, and now I've bought and heard the CD I know they're telling nothing but the truth!
I'd heard and loved some of the artists in this comp, but I ordered it mainly because of Cheb Khaled's mesmerizing "Hadad Rai", which is hard/impossible to get hold of.
So when the CD arrived today I had that compilation feeling - what if there's loads of not-the-best-version tracks, what if there's filler, what if it's a disappointment... but when I played it, everything changed to pure joy.
As this collection was put together by people who were there, there's some interesting notes for each track, useful if you want to explore more of the music.
Whether you are late into World Music or not, this is a very worthwhile and well-chosen collection of tracks from across the scene that will open up and introduce you to artists and records that you may have missed or just did not know about. Buy it, it's a snip!