World music

Real World Records is a world music label, founded by WOMAD and Peter Gabriel to provide talented artists from around the world with access to state-of-the-art recording facilities and audiences beyond their geographic region.

The musical relationships generated at WOMAD festivals gave Real World Records confidence that something of this special spirit could be translated into a recording context.

Consequently, the Real World label has become renowned for bringing together musicians who share an empathy with music in general, rather than a shared cultural background.

Real World Records continues to push back the boundaries – with new artists to discover, new ways of recording, new meeting points.

Launched in 1989, Real World Records has grown into a label of wide-ranging, world-class music from all corners of the globe. Most of the label’s releases are recorded at Real World Studios where the live interactive spaces provide an environment capable of capturing the excitement and vitality of musicians “in performance”.

Since the early days, Real World Records has been at the heart of a peaceful revolution in the music business.

The label from the success of the WOMAD festivals and Peter Gabriel’s exploration of music from other cultures, releases recordings of superb musicians from all over the world. Before Real World, only with great determination, or a lot of travelling, was it possible to access music by artists working outside western Europe and North America.

Now, you can stroll into high street stores and find CDs of music from every continent, many of them bearing the Real World colour bar logo. There’s an enormous variety of styles, moods and genres on CDs that bear this logo, but they all have one thing in common – the quality of the recording and the production is superb.

Whilst there is a tendency for people to pull together this diverse range of releases under the banner “world music”, the reality of the Real World output extends beyond this categorisation. We find that great music is enjoyable to listen to irrespective of the nationality of artists creating it. Indeed, many of the most exciting sounds that you will discover on our label are the result of collaborations between musicians from many different countries.

The Real World “Recording Week” first demonstrated this philosophy in 1991 when Real World Studios threw open its doors for one week to 75 international artists and producers from over 20 countries. Not only were several albums by individual artists recorded, but also the accumulation of so many creative minds in one place inevitably led to the start of exciting new musical dialogues. The result is a triumphant celebration of music as the global language of emotion.

In the catalogue section of this website, we’ve included samples from our entire range of albums for you to listen to. We hope that you’ll discover something within these pages to excite you. Take a good look – there are some great rewards waiting for the musically adventurous!