30 - Real World At WOMAD

Various Artists, 2012

The symbiotic relationship between WOMAD and Real World Records was apparent from day one. When, in 1989, the record label was born, it immediately joined its seven-year-old big sister in the vanguard of introducing the world's finest music to our ears. The siblings' alliance was - and still remains - a two-way street. Plenty of artists were signed to the label after first gracing the festival's stages, while almost all of Real World's roster have subsequently trod WOMAD's boards at some point.

Both WOMAD and Real World are very much grown-up these days - the festival has now reached the stately age of 30. And this 30-track tribute is an assembly of those Real World artists who've been most closely connected with the festival over the last three decades - from the spirit-of-82 vibes of The Drummers of Burundi (along with Peter Gabriel's The Rhythm of the Heat, premiered at the first festival all those years ago) right to the present with contributions from Spiro and Portico Quartet.

30 Real World at WOMAD is part of the Real World Gold series that's unearthed classic recordings from the label's vaults. And what treasure is being dusted off. Peter's quite correct when he talks of "so many of the world's great artists" passing through both organisations. From Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to Afro Celt Sound System, Papa Wemba to the Blind Boys of Alabama, there have been so many fantastic records, so many unforgettable performances.


  • A double-CD set that superbly showcases this label's remarkable history. BBC (Online)
  • ...It's tremendously eclectic... ...a Real World compilation, showcasing the diverse artists the label has put through the studio. Songlines (UK)