I bought this compilation CD of ‘world’ dance music at WOMAD Festival in 2002, where I remember feeling quite smug sleeping in a campervan whilst most of the people around us were slumming it in tents. It was possibly my first ever weekend music festival in the UK. My girlfriend at the time and I had been to one previously in another campervan on a different hemisphere, but I’ll wait to tell that story whenever that CD comes up on the randometer.
This mix of sounds, styles, languages and origins has one thing in common: it’s well funky. It’s not a CD to listen to, it’s one that demands dancing. It’s born from the same titled club night in the late 90s at Notting Hill Arts Club in London, and lovingly compiled with many tracks previously unreleased in the UK. As the cover itself declares: it combines “elements of Latin, African, Indian, Arabic and Caribbean musics with the nocturnal sounds of breaks, beats and grooves.”
My favourite grooves are the opener by Chico Science & Nação Zumbi from Brazil, Femi Kuti following in his father’s Afrobeat footsteps, and from the UK, Fever by the Stereo MCs (yes, them of Step It Up and Connected fame) and representing the Asian Underground, Sutra Sonic by Shalamar, who delivers some funky beats and a deliciously deadpan vocal.
I can’t compare this with much expertise to similar compilations, since at the time of its release (2000) the industry that would spawn dozens of ‘world’ music lounge chillout mixes from the likes of Buddha Bar or Café del Mar was still in its infancy. What I do know, is that it proudly sings out one shared vision – rhythm is a dancer.
Best Bits: “Ready? Ready? 1, 2, 3, 4” – I just love the vocals on Sutra Sonic’s groove
Genre: World Beats
Like This, Try This: Dancing on the beach at 3am