The legendary Blind Boys of Alabama give us the perfect sparkly seasonal soundtrack. There is nothing cliched about this Christmas celebration with an uplifting, heart-felt performance from the octogenarians. The serious icing on the cake is the outstanding selection of guests from the late Solomon Burke to Tom Waits, Mavis Staples to Chrissie Hynde. Released in 2003 this album continues to be a perennial yuletide favourite.
The Blind Boys of Alabama's Jimmy Carter discusses Real World, touring with Peter Gabriel and spreading the gospel....
In the third part the Real World Gold series, the 82-year talks to CBC from his hotel room, while on tour with The Blind Boys.
“The Blind Boys of Alabama had already been together for almost six decades when Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records came calling back in 2002, signing the then septuagenarians to their label. The gospel group made the most of their brief tenure, releasing three records in three years, including two that became the highest selling of their lengthy career.”
CBC Music continue their series on the stories behind Real World Records, with an interview with American singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur.
“It sounds like one of those urban myths, except in this case, it’s true: Joseph Arthur was just 25 years old when Peter Gabriel happened upon his demo and signed him to Real World Records. Arthur launched a solo, folk-driven career that has kept him happily on the fringe of mainstream success, until a few months ago when he joined forces with Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament and started the rock band RNDM.”
Read the entire interview
Discover more about Real World Gold
Running Still reveals Charlie’s open and candid character with a set of spirited songs showcasing his distinctive talent as singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. The 12 tracks on the album impart a straight-talking lyricism, an affinity for quirky instrumentation, a subtle sense of minimalism and sensitivity with his highly personal piano ballads - and an uncommon knack for beat-boxing.
Watch the UK premiere of Charlie’s video for ‘Speak to Me’.
CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, have been looking into the stories behind Real World Gold. Interviewing some of our artists has inspired them to put together this new series, which launches with an interview with Sheila Chandra.
“We’re proud to kick things off with this deeply personal interview with Sheila Chandra, one of Real World’s biggest stars, thanks to her phenomenal voice. The reissuing of Chandra’s two albums, Moonsung: A Real World Retrospective and Weaving My Ancestors’ Voices, is the closest you’ll come to hearing anything “new” from the 47-year-old London-based artist for the foreseeable future. That’s because a rare neurological condition rendered her mute years ago. In a candid email interview, Chandra wrote about being a singer without a voice, her experiences with Peter Gabriel and Real World, and the role music plays in her life now.”
Portico Quartet - Portico Quartet
Portico Quartet’s third, self-titled album charts the band’s ever-expanding sonic horizons, melting together dub-step beats, electronic sparks, contemporary classical music and their trademark sound of eerie hang, ethereal sax, earthy bass and drums… read more
“Grooves and textures build into moody dreamscapes on which electronica mixes with the hypnotic churn of systems music. The foursome’s most involving album yet…” - The Times (UK)
“An endlessly absorbing third LP… Everything still sounds familiarly Portico Quartet, only fresh, forward-thinking and a little bit tougher.” - BBC (UK)
Various Artists - 30: Real World at WOMAD
A Special Edition 2-CD set celebrating 30 years of Real World artists at the WOMAD festival. Featuring The Blind Boys of Alabama, The Drummers of Burundi, Peter Gabriel, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Geoffrey Oryema, Papa Wemba, Portico Quartet, Spiro and many more… read more
Buy online: Amazon / iTunes
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Mustt Mustt
This influential album has been unavailable for several years and is re-released as part of the Real World Gold series. The 1990 classic was the record that turned on many people to the voice of one of Real World’s most emblematic artists… read more
“A seminal album [that] completely changed the face of British music forever…” - Nitin Sawhney
“Yirga finds his way into Ethiopian standards, displays his flair for jazz over solo and ensemble pieces, and performs effortless homages to vintage soul, holding everything together with voracious talent that helps him savor each musical flavor. … While the Golden Age of Ethiopian music is in the past, a new one may be beginning.” - Fresh Air NPR
Continuing with our series of essential re-releases, the latest set of albums features more from deep catalogue artists Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Shahen-Shah), Papa Wemba (Molokai) and Sheila Chandra (Weaving My Ancestors’ Voices). There are Real World debuts from artists as diverse as Joseph Arthur (Big City Secrets), Daby Touré (Diam) and Adrian Sherwood (Never Trust A Hippy), and the fourth album from Afro Celt Sound System (Seed).
Eight Women of the World including Sheila Chandra, Susheela Raman, Estrella Morente and Yungchen Lhamo celebrate the themes of woman’s experience with the album Gifted, while Finnish avant-garde folk group, Värttinä, add their exhilarating concoction of wild female vocals.
Lastly – and in good time for Christmas – the holiday classic from The Blind Boys of Alabama (Go Tell It On The Mountain) with guests including Solomon Burke, George Clinton, Chrissie Hynde, Mavis Staples, Tom Waits, Aaron Neville, Richard Thompson, Michael Franti and more.
“We’ve had a great 2012 on the live circuit, with a first airing of the Kaleidophonica material on our Spring tour, followed by some excellent summer festivals involving all squeezing into an unfeasibly small car and then being unleashed onto lovely spacious stages with fantastic audiences and some of the best backstage hospitality ever” (Spiro)
Catch some of those highlights from Spiro at the Cambridge Folk Festival in July.
Spiro can be seen next at showcase (open to the public as well as delegates) for the Association of Festival Organisers in Nottingham on Saturday 17 November and in Glasgow as part of Celtic Connections on Thursday 31st January 2013 at St Andrews In The Square.
Find out why this extraordinary group are described as “Unsettling, exhilarating and highly impressive. … Fascinating and, I suspect, unique.” (fRoots)