OCTOBER 16, 2012
Real World Records To Relaunch In The U.S.
Legendary World Music Label's Catalog Reissued With Real World Gold Seriesby Tom Pryor
We'd heard the rumor - and even seen a few of the new releases - but we didn't get official word until this weekend, when the official press release (see below) popped up in our inbox: legendary UK world music label Real World has officially relaunched in the United States.
If you're not sure what our excitement is all about, let's recap some of the history of this storied brand - founded by British rocker Peter Gabriel back in 1989 in order to bring world music to a wider pop audience, the label grew out of the wildly successful WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) festivals that had been taking place in the U.K. and the U.S. since the 1980s - and which are still going strong today, with festivals all over the world and the British edition now in its 25th year.
As for the Real World label, it was responsible for introducing Western ears to some of the non-Western world's biggest superstars, from Baaba Maal to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - not to mention the dozens of vastly influential cross-cultural mashups that the label pioneered, from Afro-Celt Sound System to Sidestepper. The label's releases were slickly packaged, with clean graphics, eye-catching album art and an instantly-recognizable multicolored logo - pioneering innovations that helped the label build a strong brand identity and helped turn the burgeoning "World Music" scene from an obscure catch-all bin at the back of the record store to a full-fledged genre.
And though the label has still been active in the U.K. market, it retreated from the American domestic market a few years back - much to our loss. But now, thanks to a deal with American distributor Entertainment One, Real World will be re-entering the U.S. market with the new Real World Gold imprint, a series of re-issues from the label's classic catalog of over 200 albums, starting with titles from The Blind Boys of Alabama and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
In addition, the Real World label will be releasing brand new music from Dub Colossus, Samuel Yirga, Robert Plant and Justin Adams, and Joseph Arthur.
For a full schedule of release dates and titles, we've reprinted the original press release below.
Since its founding by Peter Gabriel in 1989 - springing from the visionary early WOMAD festivals - Real World Records has evolved into one of the foremost and most highly respected labels of diverse, world-class music from around the globe.
The label's catalog now numbers nearly 200 titles, many of which have been out of print for some time in the U.S. market - a scenario that is about to change with the introduction of Real World Gold, a series of classic catalog re-issues being launched this fall in partnership with Real World's new U.S. distribution partner Entertainment One -- along with a string of new front-line releases.
Entertainment One is the leading and fastest-growing independent music company in the U.S. It is the market leader among indie labels and distributors in both the U.S. and Canada - and Real World's affiliation is a landmark as the label joins forces with a true indie, departing from major label distribution for the very first time. Headquartered in New York and now in its seventeenth year, E1 holds the highest market share of any independent, boasting an unparalleled roster of strong indie label partners covering a broad spectrum of genres.
About the new partnership, Real World label manager Amanda Jones states, Real World is delighted to be back in the hands of true music enthusiasts. Over the last 20 years we have created what we feel is a unique collection of diverse and wonderful music from many corners of the world. eOne is part of the still-vibrant indie community in North America and we are excited to be working together with them to keep the sounds of Real World out there."
REAL WORLD GOLD
The Real World Gold series kicks off on September 25 with two catalog gems by American artists -- The Blind Boys of Alabama's first Grammy winner, Spirit of the Century (featuring David Lindley, John Hammond and Charlie Musselwhite) and alt-rock singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur's Come To Where I'm From - followed on October 2nd by genre-bending Indo-UK songstress Sheila Chandra's beloved retrospective collection, Moonsung.
Also set for October 2nd release is Go Tell It On The Mountain, the Grammy-winning Christmas album by three-time-gospel-Grammy-winners The Blind Boys of Alabama, with performances by guest artists Tom Waits, Chrissie Hynde, Aaron Neville, Shelby Lynne, Michael Franti, George Clinton, Mavis Staples, and Richard Thompson, among others.
On October 16, the label will roll out two classic titles from the late, legendary Pakistani qawwali master Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Mustt Mustt and his acclaimed collaboration with Canadian guitarist/composer Michael Brook, Night Song.
Two great African releases are set for October 30 - Uganda's Geoffrey Oryema with Exile, and Congolese star Papa Wemba's standout, Emotion. Additional catalog titles will continue to be released in early 2013 and throughout the year ahead.
The Real World Gold series is being re-introduced in a new, slimline digipack format at the newly affordable price of $13.98. Far from being a budget line, it is intended as a vehicle to reintroduce an eclectic catalog boasting some of the finest recordings ever produced at a competitive price.
NEW & FORTHCOMING
Also coming this fall from Real World are four new releases making their U.S. debut:
September 25: GUZO, the debut solo album by young Ethiojazz piano prodigy Samuel Yirga
October 2: JUNKYARD HEARTS by Joseph Arthur - four EPs sold only on his 2002 tour
October 16: IN TRANCE by JuJu - Robert Plant guitarist Justin Adams & Gambian griot virtuoso Juldeh Camara, in their second collaboration
October 30: ADDIS THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS by Ethiopian all-star collective Dub Colossus, the brainchild of Nick Page (aka Dubulah, of TransGlobal Underground and Temple of Sound acclaim)
Watch for individual releases on these great new albums.