Another example for reaching out to old traditions are the tracks by vocal groups such as Blind Boys of Alabama, a gospel choir, and the Creole choir of Cuba which have breathed new life to old and forgotten vocal traditions. Other artists featured here are groups such as Dub Colossus, Spiro, Portico Quartet, singers Papa Wemba, Geoffrey Oryema and plenty more. These are only a few of the offerings on this treasure trove that this label is offering. Spanning onto 3 cds with a handsome booklet that offers plenty of information Real World 25 stands not only as a reminder about this label's longevity, but also its quality.
But apart serving as a presentation of the label's catalogue, Real World 25 is probably one of the most comprehensive anthologies of world music out there. The music hails from all corners of the world, all fantastically represented here. What is evident is that some of the best and most popular representatives of this genre are present here, making it essential for newcomers. But the label has opened its doors not only to musicians that work strictly within the confines of their traditions but also innovative and ambitious artists who have married their traditional music with the popular music of today, like band Joi, which mixed Bengali music with breakbeat, Monsoon's vocalist Sheila Chandra and her experiments with voice and drones, duduk player Djivan Gasparyan who, like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan worked with producer Michael Brook, and created the enchanting Black Rock, Afro Celt Sound System, the band which mixed African rhythms, celtic sounds with electronic beats. Composer Jocelyn Pook has used world music sounds and voices which have helped her enrich her musical Esperanto. Sevara's debut Yol Bolsin was produced by the late French producer and genius Hector Zazou, one of the earliest champions of world music, and the result was music inspired by the past, but was definitely looking towards the future.
Founded in 1989, through the years, Real World Records grew into a hugely respected label, its reputation built on meticulously curating music from far flung locations. Since then the label has released over 200 records. Real World 25 is a beautiful collection of some of the best, brightest and most representative music gems that the musicians under its umbrella have produced and given it to the world. Back in 1989, Real World exploded with Peter Gabriel's watershed soundtrack to Martin Scorsese's film The Last Temptation of Christ. The soundtrack was a genre defining record which gathered performances by a huge cast of musicians and the result was breathtaking music which stands among the finest. The first artist that signed to the label was the Qawwali singer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan whose album Mustt Mustt was released back in 1990 and since then he has released several others for the label. The title track of the albums serves as the opener to this collection.
As a three CD set, this is a brilliant thing in its own right, a compilation with so much variety that also works as a fantastic playlist of global musical talent. There’s phenomenal diversity, but also a fusion of ideas through collaboration that remains true to the original vision and ideals that forged the label. It’s a valuable document of our common human spirit and our joy in the universal language of music. If that all sounds a bit lofty or worthy, then the key word is ‘joy,’ because as the CDs play it’s impossible not to turn on, tune in and be carried wherever the music takes you. Real World 25 has the power to satisfy all but the most rapacious musical hunger, but for those who might ask for more, there is all manner of inspiration for further exploration. Either way, this is essential.