Angel Romero (World Music Central)


During the past 25 years, Real World Records has released time after time top of the line world music. There is a guarantee that anything coming from Real World Records is going to be consistently impressive and masterfully recorded.

At the same time, Real World Records has introduced a wide range of lesser known global artists and contemporary forms of traditional music global music to international audiences, including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Afro Celt Sound System, Samuel Yirga, Mamer, Imagined Village, Sheila Chandra, and lots more.

Alan James (Manager, 9Bach & Spiro)


The architecture and landscape is unsurpassed for creativity, I wish it really was the real world. Looking across the big desk to the mill pond a kingfisher, with an electric streak of blue, flashes by a curious swan. One doesn’t know whether to switch or twitch.

Kerry Clarke (Artistic Director, Calgary Folk Music Festival)


We’ve been honoured to program many Real World Records over our festival’s 35 year history, including: Charlie Musselwhite, Joseph Arthur, Spiro, Little Axe, Aurelio Martinez, Juldeh Camara and Justin Adams, Holmes Brothers and Los de Abajo. It’s hands down one of the world’s most ear, mind and eye-opening labels. Thanks to your discoveries and work, our audience has been exposed to really unique artists from the furthest corners of the globe.

On a personal note, my life was transformed when I saw Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan perform in my town at a Croatian Centre to an audience of 400 Pakistani-Canadians and about 20 community radio listeners.

John Diliberto (Echoes radio)


Real World Records launched the same year as Echoes and the music they’ve released has been part of our soundscape from Peter Gabriel’s Passion in 1989 to 9Bach’s Tincian in 2014.

Real World didn’t just put global music on the map, it created the map itself with a non-purist’s disregard for traditional boundaries – and a music lover’s regard for musical creation, collaboration and cross-pollination. After 25 years, Real World remains the standard for global artistic vision and beautiful music.

Ian Anderson (fRoots Magazine)


Hey, it’s my lawn sound track! Two of my most revelatory and memorable experiences from 1985 in the years BIWCWM (Before it was called ‘World Music’) were lawn-based: the extraordinary voice and multi-instrumental skills of Bagamoyo’s Hukwe Zawose on a sunny afternoon lawn in the park beside the Commonwealth Institute, and Zimbabwe’s mighty Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited tearing up the grass on a Wednesday night twixt-festivals at South Hill Park in Bracknell. The last time I saw Hukwe was on a lawn as well, on an open day at the Real World studios in rural Box. Real World have given a home to so many others of my favourite artists over the years too, more recently the likes of Bristol’s very own Spiro – witnessed not so long ago playing to the animatronic dinosaurs at dusk on the Lawn at Bristol Zoo. Oh, and I could even show you a snap of Ayub Ogada jamming on my very own bijou patch when I used to live in London. And so many other non-turf-related artists too. Just looking at the track list for this collection is quite boggling, and all in a mere 25 years. Fantastic job! Fantastic taste! Long may your grass grow!

Charles Driebe (Manager, The Blind Boys of Alabama)


I recall staying at the cottage at Real World once and, due to the time change from the US, waking up very early. Deciding to stretch my legs, I walked out the front gate and encountered the marked footpath across the street. Walking for an hour or so as the English countryside awoke is an indelible memory!

Spiro (musicians)


We’d love to say we’d had the usual Spiro mishaps at Real World (Jase falling in the lake and getting entangled with the swan, that kind of thing) but we’ve been so well looked after, we’ve all stayed dry, the best of friends, and out of trouble with the police. The wildest we got was getting a bit carried away with the wine during the Lightbox sessions, but (a slightly out of focus) Simon Emmerson pulled us through. Weirdest moment was shooting the video for The City and the Stars – a live composite, it was shot one by one, so we each spent the day in musical reverie on a totally empty stage – looked great when York had worked his magic though.

Justin Adams (musician & producer)


Sometime in 1991 I found myself in Surreal World – picture postcard English countryside, and a labyrinth of recording set-ups, with every nation’s musical seer about to record some unlikely piece with more unlikely people. I remember Marie Boine Persen‘s unearthly voice, Hassan Hakmoun‘s athletic Gnawa trance, Joji Hirota‘s balletic drumming, and a moment where I was expected to sing in the company of some world-class singers – it’s never been my strong point! Recording Week was a dizzying entrance to a Real World that has been a part of my life ever since – always encouraging, and always driven by the will to create something exceptional.

Nick Page [Dubulah] (musician and producer)


I remember arriving at Real World Recording Week for the first time in 1994 and being impressed by how serene the mill and gardens looked… I was working with Transglobal Underground at the time. No-one else in our music world was doing anything like the Recording Week, and I was deeply impressed by it.

I remember Peter recording in the loft studio, and Natacha Atlas singing there…

I remember sharing two bottles of brandy with PG and Neil Sparkes at a party during which I was convinced a man who looked like Eno was in fact not Eno. Of course it was Eno, and another chance to ask a hero of mine questions about his lyrics passed…

I remember recording Syriana – ‘Peter’s Room’, ‘Ipiros’ and ‘Love in a Time of Chaos’ live in The Wood Room studio; recording Samuel Yirga’s album in The Big Room. Great moments for me.

And I remember some very happy Tequila Mezcal moments as we swapped obscure bottles from Mexico in the old Real World Records offices…

I remember Tsedenia wanting to move into her accommodation permanently when we were recording Dub Colossus’ first album at Real World, and Mimi Zenebe pointing out that four of her could fit in the big bath (she got on fully clothed to make her point).


My favourite memory though is of Mr Swan, or Sid the Swan, who gave “vicious” a new meaning, and had the most testosterone of any living creature I have ever met! He would attack his own reflection in the glass of the Big Room studio while we were mixing the Los de Abajo album (as Temple of Sound).

Many people have come and gone at Real World and WOMAD, bless them all. But it has been the place where many good things happened for me and those I have been lucky enough to work with… for which I give thanks.

John Hollis (producer & manager)


It was December 1987. The studios hadn’t yet fully opened, the newly built facility was a tempting new space. WOMAD were touring The Drummers of Burundi. Thomas Brooman and I thought it would be good to record them and a deal, with the help of their French concert agent Yorrick Benoist, was duly done at the Cross Hands hotel on the A46 near Chipping Sodbury.

The next day we entered Real World with 20 Burundi drummers and set up in the Wooden Room. The control room was a couple of floors up connected by video link. We could see the group drumming and dancing on the screen and were waiting for the sound to come through. Dave Bottrill engineered the session; I shall never forget the shared delight in that room as he punched the tracks through one by one on the desk and a sonic firework display commenced. Dave was jumping up and down with glee as a succession of pounding drums came firing through in a dazzling array of thunderous rhythm. It was a beautiful moment and an awesome spectacle to behold!

Real World Records

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