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Awards for World Music 2006
Ry Cooder (image by Susan Titleman)
Few musicians in any field can claim achievements anywhere near as wide ranging as Ry Cooder. Born March 15, 1947 in Los Angeles, Cooder's skills on guitar found him, at 16, backing Jackie DeShannon and at 18 forming The Rising Sons with Taj Mahal. He then began playing pop and rock sessions, helping give Captain Beefhart's Safe As Milk album a blues grounding while lending his exquisite slide guitar to, amongst others, the Rolling Stones' finest albums (Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers) and the Performance soundtrack.

Cooder's solo career began in 1970 with a self-titled album featuring songs by Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly that proved him as a versatile blues interpreter. Never resting on his laurels, he spent the 1970s recording albums that found him collaborating with Mexican, Hawaiian, soul and rock musicians. Critically applauded if never selling large quantities, Cooder retired to creating soundtracks during the 1980s - when he transformed Blind Willie Johnson's 'Dark Was The Night' as an eerie, ambient slide guitar motif for Wim Wenders' 'Paris, Texas' he won a whole new audience. Yet as the films got worse and the soundtracks less and less inspired many wondered if Ry had settled for life as a Hollywood hack.

Hearing the music of Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure reinvigorated in Ry a desire to create and the Talking Timbuktu album he went on to record with Toure proved a major hit, selling 750,000 copies. Cooder then teamed up with V.S. Bhatt, the Indian guitarist, and created another beautiful album of cross cultural guitar music. Then Cooder was hired to produce and play on what became Buena Vista Social Club - suddenly he found himself enjoying the greatest success of his career. The success of Buena Vista and many of its spin-off solo albums (several of which Cooder produced) has encouraged Cooder to step back into making his own recordings: Chavez Ravine (Nonesuch) is an epic project delving into LA's Chicano history and the Mexican-American music of the 1950s. Where will Ry Cooder go next? Somewhere musically fascinating, that's certain, for this most gifted of American guitarists.

Garth Cartwright 

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Paul Knight Leicester
When will this man get the recognition he deserves a class act across all musical styles, this mans taste in music has taken me down many roads I would never have gone and still people say you like Ry who ! what happened to the clip of him playing Vigilante man? That was the begining of my musical journey.

Tjerk Snik - Netherlands
I'm a Ry Cooder adept and collector for more than 36 years now with a huge collection of Ry Cooder records and Ry Cooder related records. Ry Cooder is a musical genius, my musical hero. Thank you Ry, for all the great music you made, your European shows i visited. Thanks for all the shivers and the tears your beautiful music brings up in me! You deserve to win this award.

rocker Pete - Dorset UK
gOT TO BE ONE OF THE BEST - his guitar and band work is superb - the range of his music styles excellent - wot a contribution to World Music and Rock n'Roll - and his Film soundtracks - Don't get me started !

RP South Wales
Two things: 1) Why doesn't Ry venture over this side of the pond more often and... 2) why won't he release the Santa Cruz 1987 film????

Adam Rogers
Grew up listening to "Jazz", an album my dad brought into the house. I quickly siezed the album and put it alongside my Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd albums. Now, as world music is finally taking off, I have discovered "Talking Timbuktu", a collaboration between Ry and Ali Farke Toure in 1994. It sounds great today and I realize that Ry has always been about 4 (or 10) steps ahead of everyone else. It sounds great. Thanks, Ry!

Mark Canada
Speaking as a guitar player I feel Mr. Cooder is one of the most important musician/musicologists out there. His music will certainly give you "chicken skin" and thats what it's all about. Isn't it?

Steve Rawsthorne Birmingham UK
I was lucky enough to discover Cooder way back in the seventies with the Showtime / Chicken Skin Revue album, @Brilliant' is the only way to describe Ry. Keep it coming please!

Gino - Peru
Ry Cooder is everything a musician should be. Thanks Ry!

Leila Berlin MD
Think Ry did it again. Who will not like this? Timely Refreshing.

DB - Brighton
Man, since finding Boomers Story in a second hand store, over 30 years ago, this guy has been the tops for me, and opened my ears to so much. have enjoyed his live performance too.

Henry Walker, Norwich
Chinito chinito is a fantastic track! I have putting it on compilations and playing it on the radio... An excellent mix of Chinese, Latin and Dub. Love the way the drop beat drums come in offbeat towards the end after a break and readjust.

BJ Musson Pambula NSW OZ
Ry has to be one of the most eclectic musicians to come out of the LA scene and whilst not everything he has recorded can be said to be brilliant, there are some absolute gems in his back catalogue

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