Various: Big Blue Ball (Real World/Southbound)

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Natacha Atlas/Hossam Ramzy: Habibe
Various: Big Blue Ball (Real World/Southbound)

Fifteen or more years ago -- when most of these recordings were made -- this might have been a Big Deal: world music artists in Peter Gabriel's studio exchanging ideas with the likes of Karl Wallinger (World Party) and creating pan-cultural sounds as they went.

But given that many of the world music artists here have albums out under the own names (Natacha Atlas, Hossam Ramzy, Papa Wemba, Joseph Arthur, Marta Sebestyen) this belated collection of recordings from 1991, 92 and 95 (some subsequently added to or refined in some way) seems a little redundant.

And there have been other such collections out of Gabriel's studio.

That is to take nothing away from the merit of the project (Atlas with Ramzy is always going to be worth hearing, Papa Wemba a constant revelation) just to say that the musical climate for these artists has changed considerably and few today would need this context to capture the ears of audiences.

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