The album World Routes: On the Road, featured as a Top of the World album in the current issue #81, will be released on January 16.
The 2 disc compilation features previously unreleased material recorded on location by BBC Radio 3′s World Routes programme. Compiled by producer James Parkin and co-produced by presenter Lucy Durán, it features some fantastic tracks.
Editor-in-chief, Simon Broughton, reviewed the album in the current issue:
World Routes (currently broadcast on Sunday evenings) is BBC Radio 3’s flagship world music programme. And to my knowledge, there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. The programme has over ten years travelled the world exploring and making top quality recordings of local music. The programmes could be more journalistic and less effusive, but they bring fantastic music to a wider audience at the press of a button. This CD, compiled by producer James Parkin and co-produced by the programme’s main presenter Lucy Durán, is a tenth anniversary celebration featuring recordings made specially for the programme.
There are some real gems here: Tito Paris in Cape Verde singing ‘Mar Azul’, the morna by B Leza made famous by Cesaria Evora; the fantastic pit-xylophone in the village of Nakibembe, Uganda; the Riho Ensemble in Svanetia, the mountainous province of Georgia; and Justin Vali and Paddy Bush playing valiha in Madagascar. There are exquisite tracks from oud player and World Routes Academy mentee Khyam Allami and his mentor Ilham Al Madfai, sounding softly reflective in his song about Baghdad and the wonderful South Indian singer and this year’s mentor Aruna Sairam, a real World Routes discovery.
Having strong memories of hearing fantastic recordings in Xinjiang and Algeria, I was a little disappointed not to find any of that here, but I understand that’s down to licensing problems. So better to enjoy what there is – which is plenty. I’d recommend starting with CD2 which kicks off thrillingly with Venezuelan harpist Carlos Orozco, quickly followed by other tasty morsels from Cape Verde, Georgia, Uganda and Madagascar. Then have a listen to CD1. Apart from Toumani Diabaté and Tito Paris, there aren’t many well-known names here and that is exactly the point. Often these are musicians who play for local audiences or are only just on the international radar – like the fabulous clarinettist from Epirus, Petroloukas Chalkias; Peruvian guitarist Manuelcha Prado, who includes Jimmy Page amongst his admirers; and the Azeri singer (raved about before in these pages) Gochaq Askarov.
The entertaining notes by producer James Parkin broaden the picture, but what this selection of 30 tracks certainly does is drive you to the programmes where you can get more of the context and atmosphere. Luckily they are all archived on the Radio 3 website.
You can listen to tracks from the album on SoundCloud.
The release will be celebrated with performances by Azerbaijan’s Gochaq Askarov and World Routes Academy protégé Hari Vrndavn Sivanesan at the Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (free admission) on February 3. You can find the concert details here.
For more details on BBC Radio 3′s World Routes, please visit: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006tnmp