Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures Teams with Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) for Palm World Voices

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Vedic Path and Baaba Maal named "Best" and "Most Anticipated" World Music Releases of 2005.

Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures has teamed with Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) to develop and market Palm World Voices, a series of CD & DVD packages exploring contemporary music, culture and artists from regions around the globe.

Worldwide media has already embraced the Palm World Voices series. On June 26, 2005 The Los Angeles Times lauded Vedic Path as the best world music release of the year. In addition Palm World Voices third release, Baaba Maal has been named as the most anticipated world music release for 2005.

Palm World Voices is the most prestigious World Music series ever created. Each release features an essay booklet filled with history and information on each region penned by acclaimed British journalist Robin Denselow that describe music styles, instruments, traditions, religion, influences and industry. The booklet also features exclusive photos from The National Geographic Society and celebrated British photographer Adrian Boot. Additionally, the volumes include specially designed maps of each area created by The National Geographic Society to enhance the visual knowledge of the region, as well as a DVD with 60 minutes of music and beautiful contextual footage.

Palm World Voices is being marketed and retailed in a non-traditional manner. Along with traditional music retailers, the campaign targets organic food stores, yoga studios, wellness centers, hotel and airport gift shops, spas and bookstores. The Palm World Voices audience represents a demographic that is affluent, well educated, travels extensively and amenable to different sounds from a variety of places.

Blackwell states that Palm World Voices will be a multi-year series. He states, "This is an audience that wants less processed food, less processed music, a less processed life. Palm World Voices elevates music to truly being a gift again."

The initial six titles and their scheduled release dates are:

  • Vedic Path – June 21

Focusing on the music and culture of India, Vedic Path is both meditative and contemplative. This release showcases contemporary and traditional Indian music and chants. Indian superstars Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, and Ani Choying Drolma are just a few featured on this release.

  • Africa – July 19

A continent of rich musical history alongside political strife, Africa has delivered Juju, chimurenga and marabi. Africa presents a grand portrait of the music and leaders of this influential nation. A few of the superstars included on this release are Juju star King Sunny Ade, Senegal's Baaba Maal, and Afro-pop artist Salif Keita.

  • Baaba Maal – August 9

Senegal's shining star is considered the voice of his people and was the first artist released on Palm Pictures. Crafting a distinctive sound that fuses traditional African music with pop and reggae elements, Baaba Maal lead the way in what was to be termed 'Afro-pop.' This compilation showcases the master in various stages of his esteemed career.

  • Spirit - September 27

Tranquil sounds of the Sahara comprise Spirit. Featuring music from the Mediterranean basin and Middle East, this recording plays like a mystical journey into the spiritual world. Featured key artists include Nouvelles Polyphonies Corses, Anouar Brahem, Omar Faruk Tekbilek and Bel Canto.

  • Brazil – October 25

A country rich in culture and music, Brazil is home of the samba and bossa nova. Seductive in sound and landscape, this release features both classic and contemporary artists from the Universal catalog, including Caetano Velaso, Stan Getz, Monica Salmasso and Marcio Faraco.

  • Mandela – November 22

The original soundtrack to the 1996 Oscar-nominated documentary will be reissued as part of the series. Artists include South African Jazz legend Hugh Masekala, Gospel greats the Skylarks, and influential vocal group The Manhattan Brothers. The CD has been reworked to showcase the heritage of South African Jazz music.

Blackwell, the founder of Island Records (Bob Marley, U2, Traffic, Melissa Etheridge) and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has long embraced unique music styles and genres. He has been saluted for exposing reggae music and its influences to world wide audiences.

"When I started marketing reggae I would bring the press to Jamaica," recalls Blackwell, "because only then would they understand the context of the music. You have to take people to the music. Palm World Voices is colorful, compelling, entertaining and seductive in the same way--you can hear the music but also see where it comes from, read about that place and feel involved in the culture. It's a fresh, user-friendly experience at a time when many people are becoming more aware of the rest of the world."

"There are many World Music CDs and some DVDs," notes Bruno Guez, Palm World Voices Music Director, who culled the music from the Universal Music Group catalog, the largest in the world (one reason Blackwell chose UMe as his partner). "However, no collection of music, images and culture has been presented in this form." Each DVD in the Palm World Voices series is a unique visual experience that goes alongside the music disc. Played together, they paint an intimate portrait of another world or culture.

Palm World Voices is less history than celebration. "These are albums you put on and not want to scan through to find another song," says Guez. "It's about flow, one emotion to another." Blackwell adds, "Listening to someone sing in another language is like listening to another instrument. The music is timeless. And when you've played it once, you want to hear it all again."

Chris Blackwell & Suzette Newman are the Executive Producers of the Palm World Voices series. Bruno Guez, founder of respected World Music label Quango Records, is the series' Music Director. Tony Wright, who created such memorable album covers as Natty Dread –Bob Marley, Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys – Traffic, is the series Art Director. Celebrated photographer Adrian Boot is both Palm World Voices DVD Supervising Producer and chief photographer. Tom Schnabel, who introduced World Music to public radio in Los Angeles at KCRW, is A&R Consultant.

About Palm Pictures

Palm Pictures ( is an audio/visual entertainment company that produces, acquires and distributes innovative music and film projects with a particular focus on the DVD format. Palm has positioned itself as a leader in the converging music and film markets, placing an emphasis on projects like music documentaries, arthouse & foreign cinema, and music videos. Their capabilities as a DVD producer leave them uniquely positioned to produce music in an original visual format and manage the transition from theatrical exhibition to home release. Palm Pictures' entertainment properties include a film division, a music label,,, Arthouse Films and RES Media Group.

Press Contacts:

Larry Solters

Lisa Pardini

Scoop Marketing

(213) 639-6160

Label Press Contact:

Shannon Herber


(310) 865-9804    

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