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80s World Music Classics—When The World Was Young

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:02 pm
by Jonathan E.
Seems like this deserves its own topic for any possible discussion. It's getting pretty heavy promotional action with notification emails from Amazon and others. This very nice piece from Paul Bradshaw was in Mondomix this morning:
80s World Music Classics

This rich selection of global classics from the 80s was initiated in the basement of the late Charlie Gillett and captures the diverse sounds of a time when “world music” was in its conceptual infancy. Along with Charlie - who chose Youssou N’Dour’s mbalax masterpiece ‘Immigrés’, Joe Arroyo’s sweet ‘Yamulemau’ and the ecstatic Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - we get another 23 cuts divined by a host of influential “world music” players from the UK.

There are a brace of tracks here that featured at the pioneering clubs of the day including Dave Hucker’s Sol Y Sombra and the great Brixton institution that was Mambo Inn. Today there’s a club craze for retro 60s and 70s global sounds. Back then the dancefloors were shaking to worldwide pop music made the same decade: 80s tracks like Sahraoui & Fadela’s mighty ‘N’Sel Fik, Samba Mapalanga’s uplifting ‘Malako Disco’, Zouk gem ‘Medikaman Nou Ni’, and Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse’s ‘Jive Soweto’. The African continent is well represented from Khaled in the north to Mahlatini & the Mahotella Queens in the south and we take in Baaba Maal, Eric Agyeman, Salif Keita and Souzy Kasseya’s classic ‘Le Telephone Sonne’ along the way. It’s also a welcome chance to hear the Bhundu Boys again. Today it may feel like African music has only just entered wider consciousness, but the Bhundus were opening for Madonna at Wembley in 1987!

During the 80s, the deep sounds of Brazil were not particularly on the “world music” radar but memories of pirate radio (K Jazz) came flooding back with Gilberto Gil’s ‘Todo Menina Baiana’, Sivuca’s cut of Bill Withers’ ‘Aint No Sunshine’ and Tania Maria’s ‘Come With Me’. Kicking off the set with the sublime Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares was a masterstroke and I love the transition that takes us to gazals queen Najma Akhtar and Ofra Haza - the Yemenite chanteuse who was sampled on Eric & Rakim’s ‘Paid In Full’. Alongside the efforts of Charlie Gillett in the 80s respect is also due to NME editor Neil Spencer for forcing this music into the rock mainstream. He and I were fans, we were on a mission and in 1988 the impact of this music prompted us to launch a magazine of “world Jazz Jive” – Straight No Chaser - to promote it. In 2011, the music on ‘When The World Was Young’ sounds as fresh as when I first encountered it. As Tenor Saw says, “Ring The Alarm…”!

80s World Music Classics - When The World Was Young (2CD) is out 18 April 2011 on Nascente

Paul Bradshaw / Straight No Chaser

Original page at

I will admit that I am, however, wondering if "N'Sel Fik" is not the most overanthologized song ever! I don't suppose that will stop me actually buying it.

Re: 80s World Music Classics—When The World Was Young

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:30 pm
by will vine
Beautiful - my copy arrived today and although I already have many of these tracks having them together in this compilation evokes that wonderful time of discovery we went through back then. Only quibble - bloody hard to extricate the notes from the sleeve without tearing it.

Re: 80s World Music Classics—When The World Was Young

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:04 pm
by howard male
My only quibble is where's Thomas Mapfumo?

Re: 80s World Music Classics—When The World Was Young

PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:59 pm
by Jonathan E.
I think I've decided to spend my money other places considering I have 21 of the 26 tracks — quite a bit of competition at this time for the sonic budget, both cash and time — and now I hear it's hard to get the notes out to read, well . . .

I was a bit struck that there isn't even one soca track. Wasn't that quite popular in the UK at the time? I thought Explainer's "Lorraine" was a fairly massive hit — and it's certainly a great song. Now available as legal download, btw. Well, anyway, compilations and licensing are funny things — no Thomas Mapfumo is a bit of a surprise also.