Charlie Gillett is a pioneer of world music, having provided first UK airplay on his radio show for a host of African and Caribbean artists, among them Youssou N'Dour, Arrow and Salif Keita, in a broadcasting career that spans thirty years. Author of The Sound of the City (first published in 1970; third edition 1996), Charlie began his broadcasting career on BBC Radio London in March 1972. He moved to Capital Radio where he worked from 1980 to 1990. Since 1995, he's presented Saturday Night on BBC London Live where he has been host to all the main figures of world music in Britain as well as visitors including David Byrne, Taj Mahal and Dan Storper from USA , Francis Falceto (France) and Stan Rijven (Holland). Charlie was Sony broadcaster of the Year in 1991 and compiled the CD sets, World 2000 (Hemisphere) and World 2001 (Virgin). He is also co-director of the Oval record label and publishing company, whose 'Would You...?' by Touch and Go was a worldwide hit, 1998-1999.
Ben Mandelson is a freelance record producer who has worked in all areas of world music. He is co-founder and A & R Manager / house producer for the 'GlobeStyle Records' label which has almost 100 releases to date from all over the world. And that's just one of a multitude of companies that benefit from his production talents. Ben has on-site recording experience in Africa, the Balkans and beyond. He was Director of WOMEX 1994-1997. His current musical activity 'on the other side of the glass' is as member of Billy Bragg's fabulous orchestra, "The Blokes".
Rwandan by birth, Belgian by upbringing, British by residence and global by choice, Eric Soul is currently stirring up a fire on London's dance and lounge circuit with his blazing mixture of hip hop, soul and an array of global urban sounds. Several years on Belgium's club circuit established Eric firmly as one of the most original DJs on the scene. Drawn to London by the forceful pull of the drum'n'bass wave in the mid 90s, Eric soon became known as a DJ who played a selection of styles that was as eclectic as it was compelling. In order to broaden the mix further, he founded the seminal DJ collective 'Groov'n'Bass Movement' in 1997. In 2000, he provided the surrounding soundscapes to the Paris and London parts of Keziah Jones' tour. From 2001 onwards, Eric's artful mix-ology became a dependable part of London's biggest multicultural celebration, the annual Respect Festival. It was this event that led in 2001 to his first opportunity to spread his musical vision on CD. He compiled the RAW mix-album for the T&G workers union - a record of innovative global music that received high acclaim from world music connoisseurs such as Charlie Gillett. At the moment, Eric is devoting his energies to the promotion of popular African culture via his brand new Afrogroov clubnight - an event featuring live MCs, Fula flute and percussion over Eric's mixes that are deeply rooted in the spine-tingling alchemy of hip hop and musical gems from Africa and beyond.
Mary Ann Kennedy
Glasgow-born Mary Ann Kennedy has been surrounded by music all her life, born into a well-known family of singers and pipers from the Isle of Skye - the Campbells of Greepe. She trained intensively as a classical musician from a young age, being a founder pupil of the first state-funded specialist school in the UK - the Music School of Douglas Academy, near Glasgow, continuing at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama andthe Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Ultimately, however, Mary Ann has chosen to work mainly with the traditional music that has always been a part of her. She has won both the Seann-Nos and An Comunn Gaidhealach gold medals at the National Mod, Gaeldom's premier festival of language and music, and was twice winner of the Concours International de la Harpe Celtique in Lorient, France. Mary Ann spent several years working for the Gaelic news service of the BBC, becoming BBC Radio nan Gaidheal's news editor before leaving to concentrate on her musical career and now presents one of BBC Radio Scotland's specialist music programmes, Celtic Connections.
Jan Fairley is a freelance who has sung since the age of four (the gamut from Gilbert and Sullivan, Bach, Opera to musicals, acapella and sacred). With a first degree in Literature and Languages she first got into music writing through meeting members of the 'new song' movement when teaching in Chile between 1971-3. She returned to do an M.Phil in Latin American Studies at Oxford and then a PhD in Ethnomusicology at Edinburgh on Chilean exile musicians and has researched extensively in Latin America and Spain since the 1970s particularly with political singer-songwriters and in flamenco. From the late 1980s she has worked as an editor notably for CUP's Popular Music journal and The New Grove Dictionary. In her guise as a music writer and critic she contributed chapters to The Rough Guide to World Music, has written for fRoots since the mid-1980s (today aka Christine Charter) and Songlines since the first edition. She has made cultural documentaries for BBC World Service, notably on Finland in the early 1990s and the 12 part world music series 'Ports of Call'. She pioneered world music on BBC Radio Scotland with Earthbeat in the early 1990s and has made many music/cultural series and documentaries for BBC R3, R4 and World Service. She writes on world music for various outlets including Scottish newspapers and has recently completed a book chapter on Music in Cuba in the 1990s. As well as compiling various discs she has written liner notes, tour managed and club DJ-ed since the 1980s.
Nigel Williamson began his stellar journalistic career at Tribune, before joining The Times as the diary and home news editor. He now writes about music for a number of publications, including Uncut, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, fRoots and many others. He's written acclaimed books about Bob Dylan and Neil Young, compiled an album chronicling the career of Abdullah Ibrahim and claims to have every Dylan song on his I-Pod.
Mark Ellingham is the Publisher of Rough Guides, which he set up 20 years ago. He edits, with Simon Broughton, the door-stopping, two volume reference book, The Rough Guide to World Music.
Max Reinhardt is a club DJ, music writer, compiler, BBC World Service radio presenter and a composer for children's theatre and television. With fellow juror Rita Ray, he's co-hosted a string of innovative club events, including the acclaimed Shrine nights, DJ's with Andy Sheppard's Short Cuts and programmes international music festivals in London.
Club and radio DJ who plays the global musical spectrum; in the 1990s revitalised the world music scene in London with the Mambo Inn; with Max Reinhardt runs the Shrine club night at Cargo and tours with the Shrine Synchro System all over Europe and Africa; creates soundscapes for Nitro theatre company and others; programmes international music festivals in London; co-presented the first two BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music (and compiles the annual CD); Has recently co-presented an excellent documentary on Fela Kuti for BBC Radio 3 in September 2004, presented the Festival in the Desert from Mali and WOMAD 2004 for BBC4.
Sam has spent the last 14 years exploring the heart and soul of the Arabic music world. As Features & Music producer/presenter for BBC World Service, he is responsible for the Arabic Service's output of Arabic, Western and World music, weaved together in his popular and long running weekly show "The Jukebox". His “Arabic Jukebox” CD compilation was released around the world (EMI) in March 2004, with “Part 2” due to be released in 2005. Born in Lebanon and raised on the hauntingly beautiful voice of legendary diva Fairuz, he discovered world music after living in the US in the early 80's and Cyprus in the late 80's, before finally settling down in the UK in 1990 and joining the BBC. He has since produced/presented several series for Radios 3, 4 and World Service, including “Cairo Nights”, “Music For Every Millennium” and “Music Sinbad”. A new series, “Sounds Like Syria”, is due to be broadcast on Radio 3 and World Service in 2005.
Simon Broughton is an experienced writer, broadcaster and filmmaker and an authority on World Music. He is editor of the world music magazine Songlines and co-editor of the Rough Guide to World Music, the essential handbook to popular and traditional music around the globe. He has produced an array of radio programmes and reports on world music for BBC Radios 3 and 4. Since making two documentaries for the groundbreaking BBC TV series Rhythms of the World, he's filmed an award-winning documentary about the return of music to Afghanistan and has been Executive Producer on the EBU series European Roots for BBC4. His documentary Sufi Soul with William Dalrymple was broadcast by Channel 4 in November and he's now working on a film about Fado with Mariza for BBC4.
Jamie Renton is a freelance music journalist who writes about a broad range of global musical styles (African, Latin American, Asian, Blues, Jazz, Reggae etc etc). He started writing in 1997 when he acquired a family and a mortgage and needed to find a way to feed his musical addiction. He is now a regular contributor to fRoots and Straight No Chaser and has also written for Songlines, The Beat and The Encyclopaedia of Popular Music, as well as providing sleevenotes for albums on the Luaka Bop and Nascente labels. Jamie lives in East London with his family, his mortgage and his (still raging) musical addiction.