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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And I'm Michele Norris, with your invitation to a musical potluck. Check out this guest list.

(Soundbite of clarinet)

NORRIS: The Bulgarians will bring the clarinet.

(Soundbite of clarinet; ngoni)

NORRIS: This ngoni comes from Mali.

(Soundbite of ngoni)

NORRIS: Count on the Lebanese for the kanoun.

(Soundbite of kanoun)

NORRIS: The Japanese offer up 10--yes, 10 baritone saxophones.

(Soundbite of baritone saxophones)

NORRIS: And a musician from Senegal brings a violin and his voice.

(Soundbite of "Sora")

Mr. DABY BALDE: (Singing in foreign language)

NORRIS: That's Daby Balde with a song called "Sora." We're all guests at this musical party, and the host is BBC deejay and record producer Charlie Gillett. He's brought these artists and many more together on a new collection called "Sound of the World."

Charlie, it's good to talk to you, and welcome back to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

Mr. CHARLIE GILLETT (BBC Deejay; Record Producer): Well, it's very nice to hear all those little intros in a row like that. That's amazing.

NORRIS: Charlie, I'd say from listening to Daby Balde here that we started on the right note.

Mr. GILLETT: Well, I'm glad you think so. It sort of goes against the principles to put a relatively unknown or in this case totally unknown artist at the front of your compilation. But there's something about this song that feels like an overture to some of the things that you're going to hear next.

(Soundbite of "Sora")

Mr. BALDE: (Singing in foreign language)

Unidentified Woman: (Singing in foreign language)

Mr. BALDE: (Singing in foreign language)

Unidentified Woman: (Singing in foreign language)

Mr. BALDE: (Singing in foreign language)

Unidentified Woman: (Singing in foreign language)

Mr. BALDE: (Singing in foreign language)

NORRIS: Now we noted that the Bulgarians will be bringing the clarinet to this party. Let's hear a little bit more from them.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. SISSY ATANASSOVA: (Singing in foreign language)

NORRIS: Charlie, there's something so theatrical about this music. It almost sounds like you'd hear it in a Bollywood soundtrack.

Mr. GILLETT: Exactly. Well, funny enough, that's what I said the first time I played it. This is a woman called Sissy Atanassova from Bulgaria who's, of course, from a label actually based in Italy, but she's very, very popular in Bulgaria. And I found the record about a year after it came out, I think. And I said to the audience on the World Service, `This reminds me of Bollywood,' just like you did, Michele. And I got more letters and reaction to that one song that I ever normally get--more e-mails, I should say--from Bulgarians and other Balkan diaspora people from all around the world, including Texas, and each one remembering this song. They didn't know her version, Sissy's version, but they know the song from 30 years ago.

It was very, very famous in the Balkans. It's like an anthem. It's just a song everybody knows. At a party, a wedding, any kind of birthday party, everybody in the place gets up and dances around the room. And they've got a particular dance where everybody links arms with each other and circles the room with their back to the center--that's the only culture I've seen where that's the way they do it--and dragging more and more people in, and just everybody is going crazy at this.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. ATANASSOVA: (Singing in foreign language)

NORRIS: Now this next track, we're heading to another continent. This comes from Mauritania, which is north of Senegal, south of Morocco, on the west coast of Africa.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. AMR LOUMAR(ph) and Backup Singers: (Singing in unison in foreign language)

NORRIS: We've had a real climate change here. You can hear it and you can really almost feel it. We're now in the western Sahara.

Mr. GILLETT: Amr Loumar is--she's about 40 years old, I think, now, so she is--on one hand part of her is like a traditional singer that you would see with the burqa and completely closed and a mystery woman; you don't know who she is or what she might be. And then she has heard Western music. Her father was a musician; he had blues records and jazz records in his collection. And suddenly he realizes there's another person here as well who is not part of the West but completely open to it and knowing about it.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. LOUMAR: (Singing in foreign language)

Mr. GILLETT: And the little kind of keyboard there is--you know, it's the sort of thing that any keyboard player would play in any band anywhere in the Western world. And it's the way the two things mix together, the backing vocals--the way the backing vocal singers come in, that is very, very distinctively West African.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. LOUMAR and Backup Singers: (Singing in unison in foreign language)

NORRIS: Charlie, now we talked about this being a musical potluck, and at about this time, I'm ready for dessert. What would you suggest?

Mr. GILLETT: I was recently in New Zealand, and there's a group down there called Fat Freddy's Drop who are kind of--well, supergroup's the wrong phrase, 'cause they're not famous enough, but they are a group of talents, people who all live in the same town in Wellington. They're a mixture of people--Pacific, of Maori, which is the native people of New Zealand, and of European origin. And the singer--he calls himself Joe Dukie, and I find him one of the most genuinely soulful singers of our time, really. And the horn players, you can hear they'd be listening to jazz; there's a reggae inflection. The producer calls himself Mu, M-U, although on the record he says he's DJ Fitchie, but everybody else calls him Mu. And he's 6'5" if he's an inch and he's nearly as wide as he's tall. He's a very imposing character.

NORRIS: (Laughs)

Mr. GILLETT: And the song "Midnight Marauders"--it's about, you know, boys on the town at night and the mischiefs they get up to looking for a girl, basically.

(Soundbite of "Midnight Marauders")

FAT FREDDY'S DROP: (Singing in unison) Take my eyes that I could be so blind, not see it was there waiting for me. Lost and found the second time around (unintelligible) now I see ...(unintelligible) oh, no.

NORRIS: Is this a club tune?

Mr. GILLETT: Yes. I mean, that's the audience they send it out to. It's the kind of song I guess that gets played in clubs at 4:00 in the morning. I must say I'm long past the time in my life where I'm ever around at a club at that time. But that's--you know, it's that downbeat time when everybody's exhausted, and then you play something like this. But I play this any time of day. I just think it's magical.

(Soundbite of "Midnight Marauders")

NORRIS: Charlie, thanks so much for this musical buffet. It's been great talking to you.

Mr. GILLETT: Well, thanks very much for inviting me, Michele.

NORRIS: Charlie Gillett's new collection of music is called "Sound of the World." You can hear more music and read more about Charlie Gillett at our Web site, npr.org.

ROBERT SIEGEL (Host): And while you're there, you can download NPR's online music program, "All Songs Considered," as a podcast. Just click on `NPR podcasts' to learn how to subscribe.

(Soundbite of "Midnight Marauders")

FAT FREDDY'S DROP: (Singing in unison) Midnight marauders, (unintelligible) oh...

NORRIS: This is NPR, National Public Radio.

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