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Charlie's Angle

"Multi-racial, multi-cultural groups could be the thing of the future here: it's been surprising to me how long it's taken to get going. Then, there is this Frikyiwa thing, just to use it as an example, of the mixing of the beats and the really great voices. Like you had recommended me a Nawaha Doumbia record; a year later Frikyiwa sampled it and I go back to it and there it is. I'm a bit slow. Somebody we know is in EMI Publishing, and in the last six months they have had nine different clearances to sort out from Saudia Arabia EMI, in other words western musicians on a large scale are sampling Arab music and clearing it. The whole Mediterranean is a very interesting area. Even when I did The World's All Yours in 1995 it was already the case then. The largest number of people came from that. So where's it all going? To the Mediterranean..."

Charlie finishes on a generous and positive note, a notable Gillett characteristic in a music world often populated by Eeyores.

"One of the most gratifying experiences I've had in this 20 year period has been the World Circuit story. An organic growth with nobody involved having any marketing mind. Just Nick Gold, since he took over the company, following his own instincts. And then at the Baobab gig, you suddenly realise 'Oh my God, he's done it again'. I'm sure Nick would say that it was Baobab that was the starting point for him of getting into all this music in the first place. And as we know, the Buena Vista Social Club recording session was a disaster. He had planned to record African and Cuban musicians together but the Africans never showed up. Talk about the best things happening from the worst..."

This feature first appeared in fRoots 218-219, Aug/Sep 2001


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