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.
BBC Radio 4's arts, culture and comedy program "Loose Ends" have chosen Real World's Daby Touré as one of their guests to perform on Saturday 2 June. Daby will be travelling in from his adopted home of Paris especially to record the show this coming weekend.
Listeners in the UK can catch it from 18.50 to 19.00. You can hear BBC radio online if you are not in the UK via the link below (and you can listen again to the show for a week after).
The much anticipated Imagined Village project is reaching final completion and will be ready to launch this summer. A fascinating concept, a live performance and an album on Real World Records, it is set to intrigue, question and delight fans and new-comers to the world of the English folk song!
The recording project is spearheaded by producer, musician, DJ and Afro Celts founder, Simon Emmerson.
The aim is to take key songs from the English Folk Song Book and see how they resonate with modern English music today. The idea is to be neither authentic or create a modern musical fusion, but rather make an open, questioning record that takes some of the most beautiful and haunting songs from our past and see how they interact and collide with contemporary musical idioms and todays multi cultural society.
Musicians from both the traditional and contemporary folk world and non-folk artists were presented with unaccompanied traditional songs (so as not to influence ideas as to accompaniments or arrangements) and the project, overseen by Simon Emmerson, developed from there.
Included on the album is Tamlin, a track by Benjamin Zephaniah, which is a radical modern re write of a long traditional ballad, co-produced by Simon and Transglobal Underground. Eliza Carthy makes her mark on a number of tracks and there is the beautiful Welcome Sailor performed by Sheila Chandra with Chris Wood. Billy Bragg appears with an updated Hard Times Of Old England with The Young Coppers; Paul Weller and Martin Carthy perform a version of John Barleycorn, the Gloworms and Tigermoth present a fresh, exciting take on English dance music.
The project will launch with a premier performance at WOMAD Charlton Park on Saturday 28 July and a special limited edition EP on sale at the event. The album will be released in September followed by a full UK tour in November.
Charlie Musselwhite was the big winner at the 28th annual Blues Music Awards last week, walking away with four of the five trophies he was nominated for including: Album of the Year (Delta Hardware on Real World Records), Song of the Year (Church Is Out), Traditional Blues Album of the Year, and Instrumentalist - Harmonica.
Meanwhile, Charlie and his rockin blues band are about to embark on a European tour in June, then theyll head back to the States to perform at various festivals including the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival in Portland, OR on July 20, the Snowbird Rock and Blues Festival in Snowbird, UT on July 28 and Chicagos Lollapalooza on Aug. 3. Also just announced, Charlie will be doing a fall run with Mavis Staples, the North Mississippi Allstars, and Joe Krown. Check the Tour section for details
On the 28th of March Crash Ensemble had their first ever concert in New York. Invited by John Schaefer, of WNCY Radio, to perform in the final concert of the New Sounds Live 06/07 series.
The Crash Ensemble performance will included the American premiere of Grá agus Bás (love and death). Written for Iarla Ó Lionáird and Crash Ensemble, the piece premiered in Dublin in February to a sell out audience and created quite a buzz since then. The unique marrying of traditional Irish sean nós and contemporary classical is a new direction for Dennehy and an exciting one for Crash Ensemble.
Iarla O Lionaird sang the Gaelic text with simplicity and directness in a plaintive folk style, and the ensemble amplified strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion and electric guitar, with Alan Pierson conducting gave it a powerful account NY Times
One of the most outstanding live festival acts are re-grouping this summer and performing at a limited number of events from Slane Castle in Dublin to Escot Park in Devon. It has been a while now since audiences were treated to a full Afro Celt line-up on stage.
You can catch them as headliners on June 3 at the popular Wychwood Music Festival at Cheltenham Race Course. The festival plays host to some of the best artists from World, Folk, Indie, Jazz and Chillout. The festival has been nominated for the Best Family Festival Award in the UK Festival Awards both years thanks to great facilities and security as well as excellent live music and activities for all ages, and Wychwood has just made it into The Observers top 5 festivals for 2007!
This years Wychwood will be a packed weekend of music, top class comedy, wild and wonderful street theatre, healing fields, solar-powered cinema, global trading village, great food and real ale. As well as the Afro Celts you can see the Levellers, Fun Lovin' Criminals, Badly Drawn Boy, Transglobal Underground and many more.
To find out more about Wychwood and all the other Afro Celt live performances go to 'Tours' and follow the links to each event.