Real World music featured on BBC Two’s Mediterranean with Simon Reeve

British television presenter Simon Reeve visits various locations along the Mediterranean in the most recent season of his travel documentary series, and as usual a healthy dose of music from the Real World catalogue features on multiple episodes.

Simon Reeve embarks on an epic journey around the Mediterranean, the birth place of western civilisation which attracts more than 300 million tourists a year —and is once again at the heart of global conflict.
In episode one Simon travels from Malta along the coast of southern Italy to Albania —a journey that takes him to the dark heart of the Mediterranean.

Driven by a surge of tourists, modern-day Malta is booming. But beneath the picture-postcard image lies a country accused of being a home to money-laundering and organised crime, where journalists can be murdered by car bombs.

And in Italy’s Deep South Simon finds a land in the grip of Europe’s most powerful mafia. He accompanies police through an extraordinary warren of underground tunnels used by crime bosses on the run, and witnesses the incineration of more than a ton of seized cocaine.

Meanwhile, in an unknown but beautiful corner of the Mediterranean, Albania, Simon discovers an ancient culture of revenge— where if an adult commits a crime, a child could be killed for it.

The series also sees Simon travel around the Eastern Mediterranean, from the island of Cyprus to the troubled Middle East, before crossing North Africa and ending his journey on the more familiar coasts of Spain and France.

Bounded by three continents, the Mediterranean has shaped so much of our history. But’s it’s a region of wild extremes, where extraordinary wealth meets shocking poverty.

You can now watch all four episodes on the BBC iPlayer, and find out more about the Real World artists who featured on the series below.

  • Abdel Ali Slimani


    Abdel Ali Slimani was born in the U Anasser district of Algiers, the heart of a vibrant cosmopolitan port with one eye on Europe, the other on Africa. Music was a pervasive aspect of his childhood, from traditional Saharan and Berber dances to Western funk to reggae and Arab styles. During his teens he witnessed the explosion of Raï music, a youthful revolution headed by Khaled. Ali was entranced and dreamed of becoming a singer.

  • Abdelli


    Abdelli is a Berber of the Kabyle people, indigenous North Africans who inhabited the region since pre-Arab times. His main instrument is the mandola, a cross between a guitar and a lute and a member of the mandolin family.

  • Hassan Hakmoun


    Hassan's music is rooted in his playing of the sintir, the Moroccan three-stringed bass, and many of his songs have the Gnawa's timeless, nomadic quality.

  • Jocelyn Pook


    Jocelyn Pook has established an international reputation as a highly original composer, winning her numerous awards and nominations including a Golden Globe, an Olivier and two British Composer Awards.

  • Musicians of the Nile


    Originating from the furthest reaches of Upper Egypt, the Musicians of the Nile have criss-crossed Europe over the last few decades. Like the ancient bards of time past, the difference is that they move through space and cultures as comfortably on an airplane as on the back of a donkey.

  • Speed Caravan

    Algeria, France

    If you've never regarded the oud - the fretless lute at the core of so much traditional Arabic music - as a rock'n'roll instrument, then you've clearly never heard Speed Caravan or the frenetic and joyous playing of Mehdi Haddab.

  • Syriana

    Algeria, Ireland, Jordan, United Kingdom, Palestine

    Syriana, then, is more than just a band. It's a concept. An attitude. A perspective. A place where themes of tolerance, liberty and hope come wrapped in Arabic rhythms and played through a Western filter.

By Online Editor

Main image: Reeve in the Scandola Nature Reserve, Corsica (Johnny Crocket/BBC/PA)

Published on Wed, 07 November 18

Further reading

‘The Surrey Ambience Service’ new Bob Holroyd on Real World X

The second release from acclaimed artist and composer Bob Holroyd on Real World X.

Bab L’ Bluz win Songlines Award for Best Fusion Act

The Moroccan-French four piece band's album 'Nayda!' was released last June on Real World Records.

Track of the day: ‘El Gamra’ by Bab L’ Bluz

The track is taken from their award-winning debut album Nayda!

Track of the day: ‘Curfew’ by Khalab & M’berra Ensemble

'Curfew' is taken from the forthcoming album M'berra, out on 23 April 2021.