About Us - The WMN Story
World Music Network is one of the leading forces on the international world music scene. The popular website acts as a portal featuring up to date news, previews, guide sections, exclusive charts and an original Battle of the Bands competition. The website also acts as a store selling high-quality albums produced by World Music Network’s four record labels; Riverboat Records, Rough Guides, Introducing and Think Global.
World Music Network was founded in 1994 by husband and wife team, Phil Stanton and Colombian-born Sandra Alayón-Stanton. Previously Phil had set up Riverboat Records (now one of the company’s four labels) in 1989 and Sandra had been director of Latin Promotions - a company that brought many of the best Latin American and African musicians to perform in London. Working with Celia Cruz, Oscar D’Leon, Manu Dibango and other top names, she also established the first Colombian club in London at La Plaza in Leicester Square.
Today, World Music Network cultivates its flourishing website as the number one spot for all things ‘world music’. Alongside the website, the company continues to release innovative and pioneering artists and compilations. As always their mission is to carry on introducing new listeners to the vast array of glorious global sounds.
World Music Network (WMN) is the first website to appear if you search 'world music' in Google and the website is constantly up dated with original content.
Unique elements include WMN's original Charts section. Three charts rate the ten best recent audio, video and social media resources (blogs, podcasts) currently on the scene.
Antoher web feature, The Battle of the Bands competition encourages new music from across the globe. Budding artists can create a profile, post their tracks and drum up support via social media. Every quarter year we select a winner whose track may go on to be featured on a Rough Guides compilation album and considered for other projects.
The informative Guide To World Music section uses text from the Rough Guide books to provide detailed descriptions and explanations of music from a specific country or genre. Here you can learn about songs from Greece, sufi music from Pakistan, cumbia from Colombia and more.
World Music Network initially began working with the Rough Guide book publishers in 1994, when the first world music Rough Guide book and album were released. Both achieved instant success, with the Rough Guide book going onto become known as ‘the bible of world music’. Phil and Sandra had originally begun by looking at the issues associated with releasing music that was off the mainstream and which therefore suffered from a lack of media exposure and resulting distribution problems. At the time, in the early 1990s, access to world music was not as easy as it is today. This led to Phil and Sandra wanting to inform interested people about world music, and the subsequent decision to launch a series of mid-price music compilations to introduce people to music from across the globe. The no nonsense approach of the Rough Guides – favouring a style that is intelligent and cultural but not academic or flippant – was exactly how Phil and Sandra saw their own idea for music compilations. The Rough Guides marketing director Richard Trillo was very keen to have a Rough Guide To World Music compilation to accompany the book, and the successful partnership was launched.
Since then Music Rough Guides have covered destinations as diverse as Afghanistan, Madagascar and Vietnam, and numerous musical styles such as klezmer and Bollywood. Music Rough Guides also has a top quality Jazz & Blues range which charts the work of legends including Charley Patton, John Lee Hooker, Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzgerald and more. The Rough Guide albums have consistently risen above the grain and continue to be a vital and comprehensive source of information for anyone looking into a specific country or area of music.
Since its humble origins – the idea was originally conceived on a leaky barge on the Thames in 1989 – Riverboat Records has enjoyed twenty-three years of producing groundbreaking artists from around the world.
Over the years, Riverboat Records has remained dedicated to exploring musical diversity and to bringing the talents of world music artists to the public eye and some of the talented musicians who have featured on the label include Sambasunda Quintet, Koo Nimo, Samba Touré, Mory Kanté, Debashish Bhattacharya and Sierra Maestra.
Indian guitar genius Debashish Bhattacharya has been working with Riverboat Records for many years and plans are in the works for new explorations. He initially collaborated with Hawaiian slide guitarist Bob Brozman to produce Mahima – described by MOJO as ‘truly groundbreaking’ – before going on to release several solo albums. His first album, 3: Calcutta Slide-Guitar (The Times ‘the results are as beautiful as they are extraordinary’) won the BBC World Music Award in 2007 and, his second, Calcutta Chronicles (The Independent ‘serenely accomplished exoticism’) was nominated for a 2009 Grammy.
A legendary West African singer and kora player, Mory Kanté is an exceptionally talented griot from Guinea. He was the first African artist to sell a million singles, with ‘Yéké Yéké’ in the 1980s, and, was a contemporary of Salif Keita in the Rail Band in the 1970s. Riverboat Records released his stunning all-acoustic album Sabou to great acclaim (The Observer ‘another magical future classic’) in 2004.
A separate artist label to Riverboat Records, Introducing was launched by World Music Network in 2004, out of a desire to promote exposure for exceptional and previously undiscovered musical talent from around the world. Delivered at an affordable price, Introducing showcases artists previously unreleased or unavailable outside their own country and delivers captivating music, top-notch sound quality and in-depth information on the artists and their music.
The Introducing label has had a number of success stories including Senegalese guitarist Daby Balde and Saharan blues masters Etran Finatawa. Daby Balde’s debut album on Introducing was described by The Observer as ‘astonishingly good… of extraordinary quality’, whilst Etran Finatawa’s was described by Evening Standard as ‘one of the year’s most refreshing records’.
Other notable projects include albums from Finnish quartet Kardemimmit, biram maestro Malam Mamane Barka, South African maskanda maestro Shiyani Ngcobo (The Observer ‘Zulu rock ‘n’ roll’), and Chinese folk-rock band Hanggai (The Observer ‘a delight’).
World Music Network sees a clear connection between world music and social change and has established good relationships with a number of development and human rights organisations. This has led to the production of a number of fund raising albums released in association with Amnesty International and Oxfam.
Think Global combines the ideals of reducing poverty, defending human rights and protecting the environment with superb collections of cutting edge music from around the world. Success stories have included Think Global: Women Of Africa (Songlines ‘buy it and enjoy’) andThink Global: West Africa Unwired (The Independent ‘a perfect introduction’).
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“@JacksonWahengo: Eeloli music video made it to number 3 on @WMN_UK video charts worldmusic.net/charts/video/2…. Bliss” Congratulations! Great video
“@Dwek__: Shanren from Yunnan province - The Chinese Pogues. Very cool. pic.twitter.com/rztppz15it” Glad to hear Shanren rocking @WOMADelaide
Shanren mix Western rock with Chinese #folk music to create a truly unique sound. ow.ly/upjCQ #womadelaide #abcrn #china
Our #BattleOfTheBands Competition ends 31 March! Winners will be included in WMN projects & @SonglinesMag, enter now! bit.ly/1krRaYt
Recent posts by @soundarchive @AltLatino are in our March Blog/Podcast chart, they're really worth a read/listen! bit.ly/1pVeIFn