V/A - Sound of the World Presents: Anywhere On This Road
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As a regular host of the BBC World Service’s daily Arts and Global culture show, The Strand, Mark Coles is one of the many fans of Charlie Gillett and is suitable apprehensive about stepping into the World Of Music shoes of the great man himself for the first time this tonight.
His tribute to Charlie Gillett was done with such real and genuine affection, if anyone was to pick up the baton, Coles seems an excellent choice. Also see FLY’s Damian Rafferty’s tribute HERE and, of course, when he reviewed last years’ Gillett compiled Sound of the World Presents: Otro Mundo (Another World) little did we know that World Music’s greatest ambassador would be gone; “Charlie Gillett scoops up yet again the tracks you loved but never got round to owning and those that would otherwise have entirely slipped past you unnoticed like so many logs floating down the Niger in the middle of the night.” Such comment equally applies to the last instalment in the series with this double CD of 34 artists from 36 countries.
Featuring acts that are well known to Gillett and World Music fans (the two are one of the same in my book), as his radio shows brought many of them to the attention of the world music community. There’s the legend that is Khaled (still going strong after his 1992 worldwide hit ‘Didi’), Charlie’s favourite singer Yasim Levy, Mali’s Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba, Tinariwen (who burst onto the scene on the African Soul Rebels 2005 tour and also featured on Charlie’s Sound of the World 2007 compilation and Ojos De Brujo who are old favourites and regulars at FLY.
Of the more recent additions, there’s our favourites’ from the soul-reggae rich islands of New Zealand (Fat Freddy’s Drop’s ‘The Raft’ from the album Dr Boondigga And The Big BW: and by co-incidence, Gilles Peterson on his show this week was musing on how good FFD would be at this weekend’s 40 Glasto Festival), Nneka (from Nigeria) with Wesley Williams and flag waving K’naan (with ‘Fatima’ although his re-alignment of Mulatu’s ‘Yègellé Tezeta’ with Damian Marley and Nas and ‘As We Enter’ is one of the tracks of the year).
And then, because of Gillett’s across the globe style, where there were no boundaries to his musical taste, it’s the ‘finds’ that makes this collection (and the others in the series) so special. The obvious ones are Orlando ‘Cachaito’ Lopez (bassist with Buena Vista Social Club who also recently passed away) with a fantastic track called ‘Tumbao No. 5 (Para Charlie Mingus) and also representing Cuba, legend Chucho Valdes teams up with flamenco vocalist Buika.
And then it wouldn’t be a Charlie show if there wasn’t something quirky, off-beat, unique; but he was never out-there for the sake of it; check DVA from the Czech Republic on the one hand or ‘Recitation Of Pleasure in Zen (Part IV)’ from South Korea, Bosnian/Serbian Balkan hip hop or the Ethiopian goodness of Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guébrou.
Equally, he was just as keen on promoting popular “hits” like the unlikely combination of The Very Best with ‘Warm Heart Of Africa’ or the cool swinging reggae lilt of ‘Comadi’ by Céu (from Vagarosa) but WOMAD variety of all types are represented here.
The title comes from the song by Lhasa De Sela (better known as Lhasa) who was a Canadian singer of Mexican and Jewish descent who passed away early last year aged only 37 (see HERE). She was another artist that Charlie championed and the haunting blues style of ‘Anywhere On This Road’ is particularly touching. And Charlie shows his love of American blues with a track from Seasick Steve (who was surprisingly good on Jonathan Ross’ TV chat show last night prior to his Glasto festival gig - see below link to iPlayer) and “all-around musical eminence”, veteran Allen Toussaint.
Charlie picked tracks here that read like some alternative World Cup competition, using a very broad brush, it covers the core of his musical interest and is a fitting footnote on his extraordinary long lists of achievements.
We wish Mark well with the first show tonight whilst, as a last note on this release, his daughter Suzy Gillett tells us in the sleeve notes how Charlie worked at finalised this collection in his basement on a Saturday afternoon in May, “And that was how I last saw him at home doing what he loved best, listening to music from all over the world, selecting his favourites to share with us all.” Thanks, Charlie ….Rest in peace in the Sound of the World.
Reviewed: V/A - Sound of the World Presents: Anywhere On This Road (Compiled by Charlie Gillett) (Warner Classics & Jazz) Cat. No. Release date: 12th July 2010
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