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Society of Sound: Speech Debelle

The Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound release this month comes from Mercury Prize-winning rapper Speech Debelle and her third album tantil before i breathe.

The album is an emotionally-crafted independent project that explores her developing self-awareness, healing and liberation. Her own release was accompanied by a digital cookbook and memoir filled with intimate stories documenting the highs and lows of the poetic South London lyricist's journey through life and the music business.

"I've been an open book since the beginning, it made sense to put that into something tangible. I've experienced so much in my career that I wanted to share some of the stories. These are the lessons I've learnt about the business and myself; the journey with the two has been parallel".

This Society of Sound special edition is the pre-mastered audio. Bowers & Wilkins sound engineers described the audio at this state as having "very good sound stage, imaging depth and space, with very good overall spectral balance".

Speech Debelle played a fantastic live set at WOMAD Charlton Park last month, as one of the artists performing on the Bowers & Wilkins Sound System 17 stage.

Published 17th Aug, 10:18am »

Remembering Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Today, 16 August 2017, marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, also known as Shahen-Shah-e-Qawwali, 'The Brightest Star in Qawwali'.

Qawwali music is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia with a tradition which stretches back for hundreds of years. Nusrat was responsible for bringing Qawwali music from Pakistan to the Western world and his collaborations on Real World Records with Michael Brook - 1990's Mustt Mustt and 1996's Night Song - are regarded as modern classics.

There are a total of nine records by Nusrat on Real World Records, including two posthumous releases following his premature death in 1997:

Shahen Shah (1989)
Mustt Mustt (1990)
Shahbaaz (1991)
Love Songs (1992)
Devotional Songs (1992)
The Last Prophet (1994)
Night Song (1995)
Dust To Gold (2000)
Body And Soul (2001)

Nusrat's voice and music continue to enrapture and entertain audiences worldwide and his legacy lives on, inspiring artists from all different creative backgrounds. Undoubtedly in recent times Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan through his music was the most significant bearer of the Sufi message of love.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: 13 October 1948 - 16 August 1997.

Published 16th Aug, 3:41pm »

The Breath release digital EP, Acoustic


Recorded in the Big Room at Real World Studios, The Breath's new EP features acoustic interpretations of four tracks from their debut album Carry Your Kin. Stuart McCallum's stripped back guitar beautifully frames Ríoghnach Connolly's moving vocals - at times heartbreakingly sad, always deeply moving.

Born out of Manchester's fertile music scene, The Breath mix Irish folk influences with mesmerizing guitar riffs, anthemic themes and powerful hooks. Connolly's soulful vocals are interwoven into the electronic fabric of McCallum's distinctive soundworld. In turns hypnotic, lush, powerfully raw and raucously punchy, their songs entrance, uplift and break your heart as they conjure a kaleidoscope of sound that perfectly frames Connolly's raw songs and soul cleansing vocals.

The band have a handful of live dates coming up over the next couple of months, including a headline show Rich Mix, London.

Published 11th Aug »

Classic Real World albums now available on vinyl

We are delighted to announce the release on vinyl of a selection of classic albums from Real World Records. Some have been out of print on LP for many years and others are making their vinyl debut; each one is a cornerstone of the Real World catalogue.

When Peter Gabriel launched Real World Records back in 1989, access to music from around the world was limited, relying on ethnomusicologists or traditional labels to find these sounds. Of course, the world is now totally transformed and finding new music has never been easier. We are, however, very happy be going back to glorious vinyl with these albums, which have endured over many years.

"It has been heart warming to see the return of vinyl," explains Peter. "Even though I loved being free of its limitations in the digital world, there is still a warmth and presence to vinyl that somehow makes it a more natural human companion."

Real World has always encouraged cross cultural collaboration, so it'll be no surprise that included in the LP reissues we have creative magic between Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Michael Brook (Mustt Mustt); Papa Wemba and Stephen Hague (Emotion); Geoffrey Oryema and Brian Eno (Exile).

Ayub Ogada's En Mana Kuoyo is another of those unforgettable albums. Simply backing himself (albeit with virtuosic ease) on an East African lyre called a nyatiti, Ayub's warm vocals never leave centre stage. At the other end of the scale, but equally indelible, is Martyn Bennett's Grit which is still arguably one of the most significant pieces of work to come out of Scotland in recent years.

Passion Sources is the companion album to Peter Gabriel's revered soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ, and represents a selection of some of the traditional music, sources of inspiration and location recordings gathered at that time.

Finally, the already released 15th anniversary edition of Joseph Arthur's Redemption's Son not only revisits a milestone record in Joseph's career but comes with nine previously unreleased songs, which now form a 'lost album' which Arthur has named Morning Star.

Published 27th Jul, 3:06pm »

Syriana 'Ipiros Remixes' EP released today


Syriana have released a new digital EP, with all profits from the sales going towards helping Syrian refugees.

Ten years have passed since the mesmerizingly haunting and thematic sounds of Syriana's Road To Damascus was released on Real World Records.

In those ten years the warfare and tragedy that has taken over Syria has affected the futures and histories of the people there, and the instigators of Syriana - Nick 'Dubulah' Page and Bernard O'Neill - have looked on helplessly as the civilian districts they had walked peacefully around when recording some of the original album in Damascus have been ravaged. Sadly, they have also learnt of the deaths of musicians they worked with and members of their families.

In response to this and to help the Greek island communities who are dealing directly to help the daily needs of the huge influx of refugees from Syria, the Ipiros Remixes EP has been put together with 100% of profits from sales going towards International Rescue: Greece and all the musicians giving their work free of charge.

Ipiros, was recorded for the original album but only previously released as a remix on the vinyl A Life in Film.

Ipiros Remixes tracklisting:
Ipiros (Kithara Remix)
Ipiros (Somo Arco Iris Remix)
Ipiros (Jazz Remix)
Ipiros (Liverpool Live Remix)
Ipiros (S40 Remix)

Published 21st Jul, 10:55am »

Hannah Peel: Society of Sound for July

The July release on Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound is Hannah Peel's third album Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia. A seven-movement odyssey composed for analogue synthesizers and full, traditional 29-piece colliery brass band.

The album explores one person's journey to outer space, by recounting the story of an unknown, elderly, pioneering, electronic musical stargazer (Mary Casio) and her lifelong dream to leave her terraced home in the mining town of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, to see Cassiopeia for herself.

The complete brass band and rhythm section were recorded live on location in The Barnsley Civic Theatre by the Real World studio team.

"I wanted these huge slabs of planetary sounds to echo the excitement and wonder of our human need to explore and develop" say Hannah.

Read more about the recording of the album and the story of Mary Casio.


Published 20th Jul, 4:22pm »

Totó la Momposina releases 'Tu Tambor'

'Tu Tambor' is a previously unreleased track by Colombian singer, dancer and teacher Totó La Momposina, whose entire life has been dedicated to representing the music of Colombia's Caribbean coastline.

Originally recorded during the sessions for La Candela Viva album but only rediscovered during the work conducted for the Tambolero album, released in 2015.

The track celebrates Totó's long-time musical collaborator and master tambor player Paulino 'Batata' Salgado.

"It's good to hear my long-time friend and fellow traveller Batata again. He brought so much to my music; I have never come across a drummer since who plays the tambor like he did." ~ Totó

To accompany the track, we have released a new video from the Real World archive which captures the song as it was tracked during the legendary Wood Room sessions at Real World Studios in 1992.

Totó finishes her long run of live shows this weekend in the USA.

Published 14th Jul, 10:00am »

Loney dear signs to Real World Records

Real World Records is delighted to announce a brand new artist signing, Loney dear.

Swedish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emil Svanängen makes records and plays shows under the enigmatic name of Loney dear. In the early 2000s, in his Stockholm apartment studio, Svanängen made a name for himself by creating homemade CDrs with a minidisk microphone and a home computer, self-releasing albums which by 2007 had pricked Sub Pop's ears and they released Loney Noir.

Loney dear has built a significant reputation over the years, with some glowing reviews in The Guardian, BBC, Drowned in Sound, Pitchfork and earlier this year the Line of Best Fit went as far as calling him a "brilliant genius".

Consistently creating elegant, deeply stirring music, Loney dear has been described by The Quietus as "…the obsessive work of one man, albeit one that can sing with the vulnerable delicacy of an angel and makes bedroom recordings that sound like God's own orchestra". Multi-layered with instrumentation and Svanängen's fragile yet irrepressible vocals, Loney dear's songs bloom with a sense of both intimacy and openness, at once uplifting and heartbreaking, tenacious yet tender.

Loney dear's eponymous seventh album will be released on September 29th to tie in with a European Tour and a preview at WOMAD Charlton Park in July.

Published 7th Jul »

Joseph Arthur's Redemption's Son out today

The 15th Anniversary re-issue of Joseph Arthur's Redemption's Son album is out today.

Available as 2CD and 2LP (the first time on vinyl) as well as digitally everywhere.

As well as the original album, this new release comes with nine previously unreleased songs, which now form a 'lost album' which Arthur has named Morning Star.

"We decided to turn these tracks into their own album called 'Morning Star' rather than a collection of this that and the other thing," says Arthur. "It's a great feeling when the past burps up a gift. Things forgotten and submerged by the vortex of time which reveals its illusions thru a process such as this."

Published 23rd Jun, 10:00am »

Sheila Chandra feature in the Guardian

Monday's edition of The Guardian included a feature on Sheila Chandra on her new book, Organizing for Creative People.

The article also features the street artist Stik, who Sheila began mentoring (when he was still homeless) in 2008. She wrote a version of Organizing for Creative People just for him and this book is an expanded version of her artist advice to him on how to build a strong foundation for his career. Stik has gone on to become one of the most famous and collectible street artists in the world.

Photos of Sheila and Stik for the piece were taken by our very own York Tillyer.

Read more in The Guardian

Published 21st Jun, 11:27am »

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