With the Bowers & Wilkins Sound System confirmed to return to the WOMAD festival for a fourth year this summer, the Society of Sound release for June is a timely reminder of what happened last year.
During the weekend, the WOMAD festival audience were treated to three days of eclectic musical programming, provided by a mix of DJs, live bands, presentations and hands-on events, all delivered through the unrivalled listening experience of the Sound System: the acoustic engineering of Bowers & Wilkins flagship hi-fi speakers on a massive scale.
Bowers & Wilkins Live provides a chance to experience the highlights of last year's programming, with each artist choosing a track from their performance to feature on the compilation.
The world's finest Sound System, created by British audio brand Bowers & Wilkins, once again returns to the WOMAD Festival this summer.
The Bowers & Wilkins Sound System 17 stage will present three days of eclectic programming at the festival, which takes place 27th to 30th July, including interactive events, talks, live bands and DJs including artists such as Nick Mulvey, Joseph Arthur, Loney Dear, Blue Lab Beats, Floating Points, Portico Quartet and many more.
Once again the Sound System 17 stage will boast Bowers & Wilkins four 3.5m speaker stacks which are designed to deliver an unrivalled listening experience.
Here's the full line up:
BBC Local Radio, the BBC Asian Network and the British Plaque Trust will unveil 47 new blue plaques on Thursday 15 June to commemorate people or places that have influenced the musical landscape across the country.
We're delighted that three of these new blue plaques commemorate artists who have a strong connection to Real World Records; two plaques will be unveiled on the day in East London in honour of Haroon Shamsher (founder of pioneering collective Joi) and Saifullah 'Sam' Zaman (aka State Of Bengal). Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan will then be commemorated with a plaque in Birmingham around the 20th anniversary of his death on 16 August.
The initiative is part of BBC Music Day a UK-wide annual celebration of music that aims to unite communities and generations through their love of music. Singers, musicians, songwriters, producers and broadcasters, as well as significant locations that played a major role in our musical heritage, are being commemorated.
"BBC Asian Network and BBC Music, with the British Plaque Trust, are really proud to honour three music icons with the first Blue Plaques for South-Asian artists. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Haroon Shamsher and Sam Zaman all made a profound difference throughout their careers and left a lasting legacy. Their cultural significance continues today. Real World Records are amongst a core number of platforms who have played a critical role in supporting and exposing them to wider audiences." Mark Strippel, Head of BBC Radio 1Xtra / Asian Network
Haroon Shamsher and his younger brother, Farook, applied a DIY aesthetic to their career from the very beginning, starting out as Joi Bangla Sound System, an outfit that saw them spinning records in local youth clubs around Brick Lane with a vibe that was inclusive and outward-looking from the get-go.
By the early 1990s Joi were at the vanguard of the Asian Underground, a clubland movement that also saw the rise to prominence of Talvin Singh, Asian Dub Foundation, Cornershop, Fun-da-mental and Nitin Sawhney.
"Real World first saw us playing at the Blue Note," says Farook Shamsher of the now-legendary venue in east London's Hoxton Square. "We used to get a very cool, very mixed crowd. We'd pin our mother's saris on the walls and get our incense going, and then we'd let our records speak for us. Wherever we played - London, Britain, Europe - we rocked it. We made music that changed minds."
Joi progressed through DJing to writing and recording their own music, releasing numerous singles - breakbeat workouts, techno experiments, mystical instrumentals - before signing to Real World Records.
They had just released their debut for the label One and One Is One and were gigging and travelling intensively when tragedy struck: Haroon Shamsher developed a blood clot and died from a heart attack. He was thirty-four years old.
After a period of mourning, Farook - as Joi - returned in 2000 with We Are Three, a tribute to his late brother "Haroon's vibe is there on every single track," says Farook.
Haroon Shamsher, musician, dj, songwriter and producer
Born Bradford 14 November 1965; died London 8 July 1999
Saifullah 'Sam' Zaman, the east London DJ and producer, aka State of Bengal, was a regular visitor to Real World Studios over the years and also released two albums on Real World Records, 1999's Walking On, with Ananda Shankar and in 2004 Tana Tani, a collaboration with Paban Das Baul.
He collaborated with many South Asian musicians, most memorably the celebrated psych-rock sitar maverick Ananda Shankar, but was always looking to bring something new to the music rather than simply falling back on traditional methods and approaches; "I want to feel that I'm moving things on, not just regurgitating music that's being played for centuries,"
As well as the album releases Sam was a key component in the burgeoning Asian Underground scene of the late 1990's and early 2000's and an accomplished DJ. He was also renowned for his innovative and exciting remixes for a host of other artists such as Bjork, Massive Attack and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Saifullah 'Sam' Zaman, DJ and producer
Born Karachi 16 April 1965; died 19 May 2015
Downtown is one of nine, previously unreleased, bonus tracks that come with the expanded edition of Joseph Arthur's Redemption's Son album, released on 23 June.
The 15th anniversary edition of Joseph's third album is available on double CD, 180-gram double LP and digitally.
It will be the first time the album has been available on vinyl.
The May release on Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound features the seductive pop qualities of Ofeliadorme.
Their album Secret Fires is a mix of ambient, new wave, stargazing electronica that's warm and inviting, yet stark and mysterious.
Already coveted in their Italian homeland, a country with a burgeoning electronic scene right now, the combination of Francesca Bono's vocals and guitars, Michele Postpischl's percussion, and Tato Izzia's synths, low ends, and bewitching noises create an intense yet subtle sound.
Produced, mixed and recorded by genre-straddling UK legend Howie B (Bjork, Tricky, U2, Soul II Soul) and engineered by Joe Hirst (Four Tet, Jarvis Cocker, DJ Shadow), Secret Fires is an impeccably realized and unforced record, full of natural beauty. A rare thing indeed.
In the band's own words; "everyone is screaming and we don't want the scream to be heard."
On 25 May, Sheila Chandra's new book is released, entitled Organizing for Creative People. The book is full of the kind of insights and 'counter-intuitive' creativity tips that only one creative person can give another, putting your creative career on the path to success. It's the perfect guidebook to streamlining your work and life for career success in any creative discipline.
The book features an introduction from 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.
"Sheila showed me how to turn my art into a career. Our fields were wildly different - she was a singer, I was a street artist - but her system is transferrable to all disciplines and it transformed my work and my home life. She gave me the tools to hunt success and the infrastructure to handle it when it came." - Stik
Organizing for Creative People by Sheila Chandra is published by Watkins Publishing on 25 May, 2017, priced £10.99.
Sheila Chandra recorded three albums for Real World Records in the 1990's; Weaving My Ancestors' Voices (1992), The Zen Kiss (1994) and ABoneCroneDrone (1996) which are some of most beautiful and innovative recordings on the label.
Sadly recurring voice problems forced Sheila to retire from music in 2010, but it was in this period that her career as an author took off, with her best-selling book Banish Clutter Forever - outlining her own system for home organising - which she says "makes it possible to pretty much, never tidy up again."
The Breath have released a new track, 'Chilli Salt', which was originally recorded for their debut album, Carry Your Kin.
'Chilli Salt' is a powerfully raw and raucously punchy song, where Ríoghnach Connolly's glorious voice soars over the electronic fabric of Stuart McCallum's distinctive, layered soundworld.
Connolly's songs pour forth from her own life in a torrent of meaning, excavating raw feeling with little in the way of defence. 'Chilli Salt' is about sexual politics, delivered with compelling emotional honesty and a powerful urgency, or as she puts it, with a wry grin, "We'd like to dedicate this next one to the Catholic Church....for if it wasn't for guilt, how would we ever truly enjoy ourselves....?"
The band are on tour in the UK and Germany this summer, including performances at Wilderness Festival, Boomtown Fair, and the Manchester Jazz Festival.
From the start Totó had us, and the whole of the sold out audience, in the palm of her hand with a masterful performance full of passion and effortless control. For all the cultural and historical importance that Totó's music clearly has this was an audience fully embracing and engaging in the moment.
Playing music from across her career, including music from La Candela Viva and Tambolero, seeing Totó La Momposina live is a euphoric celebration of the music of Colombia.
More live shows in Europe throughout May and June.
Photos by York Tillyer.