If you think you know about English folk music, think again! The Imagined Village project, the brainchild of producer and musician Simon Emmerson, has recast age-old traditions in the shape of the twenty-first century. A daring mix of ancient and modern, The Imagined Village fuses fiddles and squeezebox with dub beats and sitars.
Now available exclusively online is the Imagined Village limited edition 4 Track EP, featuring an extraordinary array of talent - Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy, Sheila Chandra, Billy Bragg, Chris Wood and Simon Emmerson.
EP Track Listing:
1. 'England Half English Meets John Barleycorn' was recorded and mixed by producer Simon Emmerson with Billy Bragg featuring Martin Carthy and Eliza Carthy. The spirit of the track, with its meeting of two songs, seemed in perfect keeping with the overall sentiment of The Imagined Village project
2. 'Acres of Ground (Beats Mix)' is an original song by Eliza Carthy, based around old traditional counting songs. Created through collaboration between Simon Emmerson and mix engineer Mass in their London Studio and Ben Ivitsky and Eliza in their Scottish studio. Another version of this song which will appear on the final album in a very different guise.
3. 'Welcome Sailor', a beautiful atmospheric collaboration between Sheila Chandra and Chris Wood, is a recording based on Lal Waterson's traditional interpretation of the original folk tune. This track will appear on the forthcoming Imagined Village album.
4. 'Cold, Hailey, Rainy Night - It's Turned Out Nice Mix by Stabilizer' grew out of a challenge set by The Imagined Village project on the Real World Remix website . The idea was to take this track - Transglobal Underground's interpretation of Martin Carthy's original track - and re-mix it. This song has been passed down from generation to generation through the oral tradition of folk music. It has now been re-invented in a radical fashion by the mysterious, uniquely- talented Stabilizer!
Those who were lucky enough to survive the mud at this July's WOMAD Festival in Charlton Park and were in the Siam Tent on the Saturday night were witness to the premiere of the live show - for many festival-goers this was the gig of the weekend!
The name of Hukwe Zawose is legendary in East African music and beyond. His appearances at past WOMAD Festivals have become mythic, his recordings for Real World Records and his work with Peter Gabriel and Michael Brook established this great traditional artist in a contemporary context. Peter Gabriel said Hukwe Zawose's music was "some of the most beautiful music we have ever put out on Real World Records" and invited him to be the support act for the 2003 'Growing Up' tour of North America. This was to be Hukwe's last trip abroad. On returning to Tanzania at the end of that year he died suddenly of AIDS, followed only one year later by his young nephew and collaborator Charles Zawose.
In spite of the hardships this devastation has brought to the family, the music has survived - the house in Bagamoyo, Tanzania is still buzzing with sound, possibly more than before as conscious mortality makes what is left over even more sacred. There is a new energy in the family learning from the bad times and building for a better future for the whole family and its music - a music that will never be lost.
For the first time the new generation of the Zawose Family are touring the UK this summer (inclding WOMAD Charlton Park) . To celebrate the return of this inspirational family Real World has released a new CD. 'Small Things Fall From the Baobab Tree' traces the extraordinary legacy, as one musical legend passes and the door opens on a new era. Recorded at Real World Studios and at radio station in Seattle a number of these songs are the last ever recordings of the great Hukwe Zawose and his uniquely talented nephew Charles before their untimely deaths. The CD also introduces the voice of the new generation - the young Zawose Family - rapturous, joyous, polyphonic singing accompanying buzzing thumb pianos, soaring izeze fiddle and exuberant rhythms.
The CD will sold in support of the charitable Zawose Foundation and available mail order or at the band's live appearances this summer. More information about the Zawose family, the Foundation and a new documentary film about the Zawose story go to the link below.
Fans of Daby Touré can hear a wonderful interview with the man himself following he sell out Paris show at La Cigale in March this year. Daby talks about his performance, his album Stereo Spirit, his past and his future.
Daniel Brown interviews Daby on the Mondomix website.
The mesmerizing sound of hypnotic Saharan trance-blues - driving guitars, irresistible grooves, mysterious vocals - is now available to buy online. Pre-order ready for the release date on 23 July.
Find out more about the wonderful Toumast on the new website and, if you are lucky enough, you can catch them at WOMAD Charlton Park for their first UK performance on Friday 27 July.
Rising star of African music, the young Daby Touré has just been announced as the support act for Peter Gabirel at the festival Vielles Charrues, Carhaix, West France. The event has a great line up of music, including Toumast (newly signed to Real World outside of France).
Daby will also be performing at WOMAD Charlton Park on Friday 27 July - on the Saddlespan stage plus a special performance on the BBC Radio 3 Stage.
Coming soon to Real World Records and to a venue near you is The Imagined Village, an ambitious reinvention of the English Folk tradition, embracing the modern-day nation in all its cultural diversity. Fiddles and squeezebox breathe easily alongside electronica and ambient effects, ancestral songs are brilliantly updated with the sounds and voices of today.
You can get a preview of things to come, and become part of the village yourself over at Real World Remixed where 'Cold Hailey Rainy Night' has just been made available as a remix sample pack.
Simon Emmerson from The Imagined Village says "We are looking for the most Imaginative and inventive re-mix of one of England's oldest stories of love, sex and betrayal: Cold Hailey Rainy Night. This song has been passed down from generation to generation through the oral tradition of folk music. We are now passing it on to you in the Imagined Village of cyber space to be re-invented by the Real World Remix community.
Alongside Simon Emmerson the project features The Copper Family, Sheila Chandra, Benjamin Zephaniah, Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy, Paul Weller, Transglobal Underground, Tunng, Chris Wood, Billy Bragg, Tiger Moth, Gloworms, and the Dhol Foundation.
At last the epic stage production of Lord of the Rings opens in London. The Opening Night Performance of this, one of the most ambitious and stunning productions to come to the West End will take place on 19 July at The Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
The theatrical interpretation of Tolkein's momenteous books has been driven and created around the music co-composed by Värttinä and Indian composer A H Raman.
The Lord of the Rings previews at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London, began May 9. The packed house gave the show a standing ovation and reviews appeared in The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail. Tickets are on sale from the link below.
Värttinä will be honoured for their important contribution to Finnish culture at a reception at the Finnish Embassy in London while they are in the city celebrating the Lord of the Rings premiere.
The group finish their visit to the UK with their concert in Exeter, the Corn Exchange, on June 21.
Real World Records is to release the debut album from Toumast. The album was first available in France on the Village Vert label and the band has found a home for its international release with us.
Toumast take the desert blues in an unexpected and radical direction. The album Ishumar (Identity) is a testimony of years of combat and struggle of the Toureg people. These compelling songs of exile and the nomadic life are driven by looping camel-gait rhythms, stinging electric guitar and gutteral call-and-response vocals. Bold touches in production strings, sax enhance the funky grooves are punctuated by the beautiful, errie voice of female singer Aminatou Goumar.
Lead singer Moussa Ag Keyna who, together with Aminatou and French producer Dan Levy, has created a sublime new African desert sound, but behind that smile, the nomad on his camel hides many problems.
A nomad, who has spent his whole life amongst the compounds of the Sahara desert, is loath to leave. He follows his camels on the quest to find water, he tends his animals whilst absorbed in song, he wraps his face in the turban that protects him from the harsh desert sands. This is the life he has always known, a life he doesnt want to leave behind. But political persecution and drought are destroying this existence. Moussa Ag Keyna was driven from the struggle of liberation by injury to France where he changed his gun for a guitar.
Despite the pain and sadness in the songs, there is also a passion for the desert that emerges through the lively rhythm, the vibrant melody and an irresistible pop sensibility.
Ishumar will be released on Real World Records on July 23rd. Watch out for their Real World website - coming soon. The band will be playing their first UK show at WOMAD Charlton Park on Friday 27th July.
"...the rockingist desert blues guitar sound I've heard." (fRoots magazine)
Daby Touré came to London last week for a whistle stop visit that included two BBC interviews/sessions and a fantastic solo gig at Momo's Kemia Bar in Mayfair.
Click on the links below to listen again to Daby's interviews and sessions with Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music and Jon Stewart on the World Service music and arts programme "The Beat"
We've managed to reach a long overdue decision on the two recent Real World Remixed competitions - lots listening and debating was involved, followed by more listening and then some debating!
Thanks to everyone who took part, both with remixes and competition top 10 lists, and congratulations to the winners.
We'll be emailing all the winners in the next few days.