Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

World Circuit Records Reissue Four Cornerstone Albums

World Circuit Records Reissue Four Cornerstone Albums

World Circuit Records is reissuing four of its cornerstone albums. Remastered and available on vinyl for the first time, Ali Farka Touré's Savane and Omara Portuondo's Buena Vista Social Club Presents are on LP and digital formats today, followed by Radio Tarifa's Rumba Argelina and Guillermo Portabales' El Carretero, which are due on CD, LP and digital formats on October 4.

"It's been an honour to work with so many amazing artists on World
Circuit over the past 30 years. These four albums from Ali Farka Touré,
Omara Portuondo, Radio Tarifa and Guillermo Portabales are each a
special part of the label's history and it's great to be making them
available for the first time on vinyl. We have plans for more next year,
as well as some brand new releases which we look forward to sharing

- NICK GOLD, World Circuit

Since forming in London in the mid-1980s, World Circuit Records has made its reputation by producing some of the finest world music albums of the past three decades. The label is best known for the Grammy-winning Buena Vista Social Club album, which is the biggest selling world music album of all time and has contributed to the phenomenal rise in popularity of Cuban, as well as Latin American, music. The Buena Vista series continued with solo albums from the Grammy-winning Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo, Rubén González, Guajiro Mirabal and innovative albums from Cachaíto López and Angá Díaz, which took Cuban music into the new millennium and beyond.

World Circuit is also home to a number of revered African artists. Malian blues pioneer Ali Farka Touré's classic Grammy-winning 'Talking Timbuktu' album, recorded with Ry Cooder, brought the label early international acclaim. Malian divas and social activists Oumou Sangaré and Fatoumata Diawara, master kora player Toumani Diabaté, the illustrious Orchestra Baobab and musical iconoclast Cheikh Lô have all established themselves as major stars across the globe. Tony Allen, Fela Kuti's legendary drummer, co-creator of Afrobeat and founding member of The Good The Bad and The Queen joined the label in 2009 and continues to pioneer new African music.

Expanding their orbit far beyond Cuba & West Africa, the label released the breakthrough debut album 'Rumba Argelina' by Spanish group Radio Tarifa in 1996. 'Rumba Argelina' rocketed them to cult fame with its fusion of flamenco and Arabian sounds, placing them firmly on the map of world music innovators. Mbongwana Star scattered any traditional notions of Congolese music on their experimental and thrilling 2015 debut 'From Kinshasa'. With further reissues and brand new releases to come in 2020, World Circuit continues to bring diverse, genre-defying music to a wider audience.


Remastered from the original analogue masters, Buena Vista Social Club Presents...Omara Portuondo is a collection of eleven beautiful songs from one of Cuba's most celebrated singers. Variously tagged the Edith Piaf or Billie Holiday of Cuba, Omara had a fruitful musical career in her home country but came to worldwide notice as the only female singer on the Buena Vista Social Club album and film.

ALI FARKA TOURÉ, SAVANE (originally released in 2006)

Remastered and available on double vinyl for the first time, Savane is the last solo album by the legendary Malian guitarist and desert blues pioneer Ali Farka Touré. Returning to his village in the desert north, Touré began writing for the record and assembled a traditional ngoni group featuring the virtuoso Bassekou Kouyaté. Recorded in Bamako and produced by Nick Gold, Savane is Ali's testament, a powerful reaffirmation of his umbilical link to Malian music and a potent reminder that the blues came from this part of Africa. The record occupied Ali right into his last weeks and he finally declared himself satisfied with it shortly before his death in March 2006.

RADIO TARIFA, RUMBA ARGELINA (originally released in 1996)

Remastered specially for this first-time LP release and with accompanying new CD and digital formats, Rumba Argelina is regarded as a world fusion classic. Founded in the early '90s, Radio Tarifa combined Flamenco, Arab-Andalusian music, Arabian music, Moorish music and other influences from the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. In fact, the band's name is taken from Cape Tarifa, the southernmost tip of Spain and closest European point to Africa, where the local radio receives sounds from across the straits.

GUILLERMO PORTABALES, EL CARRETERO (originally released in 1996)

El Carretero is now remastered and available on vinyl for the first time, alongside new CD and digital formats. Guillermo Portabales (1911-1970) was a unique performer of the Cuban guajira rhythm, whose distinctive voice and guitar style helped define and popularize the easy swaying style. El Carretero, one of Portabales' most famous songs, has been covered by a variety of different acts, including Senegalese artists Orchestra Baobab and Cheikh Lô. His music had a significant influence on the artists who eventually came together as Buena Vista Social Club. This collection of his classic '60s recordings was compiled by Nick Gold specifically for release on World Circuit.

Related Articles View More Music Stories

NOS Dance

From This Author Abigail Charpentier