Awards for World Music 2006
You can legitimately call this a compilation of the best in the world -- at least for 2006. All the nominees in each category for the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards. Covering so much ground -- namely, the entire globe -- it's a sprawling collection, but every cut is of great quality; it's impossible to single any out as better than the others. A few bring smiles, like Amadou & Mariam, or the gloriously rickety Konono No.1, for example, and others, such as Sain Zahoor, take you deep inside yourself. Apart from the sheer variety of styles here, what impresses most of the commitment of the musicians. It really doesn't matter if they're winners or losers (and for a list of the winners you'll have to search online), this enthralls. For anyone not intimately involved with world music there are likely to be surprises, and some choices may even confuse (are KTU really world music? Does it matter?). Several names -- the late Ali Farka Toure or fado singer Mariza, among others -- may be familiar. Others will be obscure, like the Armenian Navy Band or Albert Kuvezin & Yat-Kha. The notes in the booklet do a good, concise job, putting the artists and awards in context. No collection is perfect, but if you were putting together a contemporary world music best of, this would come very close.