80s World Music Classics: When The World Was Young

Selected by a panel of DJs, journalists and promoters who catapulted world music into what it is today, this rich compilation of seminal world classics presents “world music” in its infancy stage. One of those advocates was the late Charlie Gillett who recommended many of the tracks to be included, such as Youssou N’Dour’s mbalax masterpiece “Immigrés” and the sumptuous Sufi sounds of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Many of the tracks presented on the this musical gem were first heard at London’s topical hotspots including Dave Hucker’s legendary Sol Y Sombra and the great Brixton institution that was Mambo Inn. Such club nights were crammed full of global pop tunes such as Sahraoui & Fadela’s “N’Sel Fik”, Kassav’s “Zouc La Sé Sél Medikaman Nou Ni” and the smooth soundings of Samba Mapanga’s “Malako Disco”. This great compilation represents the African continent well, moving from Khaled’s raï-inspired tunes of the North, whilst taking a detour through West Africa and the songs of Baaba Maal, Salif Keita and Kanda Bongo Man and arriving in musical style with Mahlatini and the Mahotella Queens of South Africa.

Reminding us of Latin America’s prominence as a popular export of world music classics are Gilberto Gil’s “Todo Menina Baiana”, Tania Maria’s “Come With Me” and Orchestra Baobab’s “Utru Horas”. However, easing us gently into the compilation is “Les Mystere Des Voix Bulgares” with its sublime acapella and haunting harmonies. Moving through tracks by Najma Akhtar, Ofra Haza and the 3 Mustaphas 3, there is a gradual sense of intensity and by the time we reach Eric Agyeman’s “I Don’t Care”, the party is in full-swing, presenting further tunes such as dancehall classic “Ring The Alarm” and “Jive Soweto”. When the World Was Young is a great reminder of world music and its inception as a recognised genre of global sounds. It also is a clear memento that world music has drastically changed since the 80s, encompassing an increasing diversity of sounds from around the globe to an ever-growing audience of world music aficionados.

80’s World Music Classics: When the World Was Young is released by Nascente Records on March 28th, 2011 and is available from Amazon and other retailers.

In addition, we have a competition to win a few copies of the compilation. CLICK HERE to enter.

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By Amy Cunningham


  1. alice

    Love your review!

    If you get a chance check out Joaquin “Joe” Claussell newest project, “Hammock House ‘Africa Caribe’ and listen to his club-inspired reworkings of Fania classics:


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