Eulogy for Charlie Gillett

March 17th, 2010

For the past three years I would go once a week to Charlie Gillett’s studio, in the basement of his beautiful Clapham house. There we would try and go through the mountain of CDs piled up in between his desk and CD player. We never quite succeeded in making the mountain smaller, but we kept it level. These CDs would come in the post, usually several packages a day, and Charlie would diligently and democratically try and give each and every one a chance. Many gems were discovered that way, from albums that hadnt been recommended by anyone in particular, that didnt have good cover art, that had very little chance of surfacing in most contexts. Charlie was often the champion of artists without champions.

In these past few years Charlie has not only been a mentor of sorts, but has come to be a good friend. Having learned of his passing a couple hours ago, I still cannot fully comprehend it. He had become such an important part of my life that I cannot imagine him not being here anymore. Last Wednesday on the telephone we had scheduled for me to go over today, to resume our weekly music listening session. That was the day, a few hours after we spoke, I learned that he was back in the hospital.

There are so many things to say about Charlie, about his role in the world and about his role in my own life. All I can say right now is that he left us too soon and I will miss him every single day.


There are lots of lovely Obituaries about Charlie Gillett available:

A BBC radio show:

His website, Sound of the World, has also become a place for people to leave messages:

For bbc radio downloads of Charlie Gillett’s past World of Music shows:

A very rough first podcast, that I did in honour of Charlie and Lhasa: Charlie Gillett & Lhasa Tribute

19 March 2010,

Its incredible to see how many peoples lives Charlie touched around the world through his world music show on the BBC world service, and through his 4 decade long career on the radio. People who would tune in weekly, sometimes having listened to his voice for decades, understandably felt close to him. Letters of condolence have been pouring in from everywhere; one has only to look on his website and read some of the letters to see the mark he has made. Music with its incredible power to touch people deeply, and to heal, was the medium through which he entered people’s hearts.

But it was not only the music he shared that endeared him so greatly to so many of us. As has been often mentioned these days, some of the most incredible parts of Charlie’s character was his openness, humility, and tireless curiosity. With his wealth of musical knowledge and taste, Charlie was still always interested to know what I thought, 40 years his junior. Despite his strong tastes, he still would be open to changing his mind about a particular track or new artists he was undecided about- a very rare quality.

Charlie would always take the time to explore artists that I had recently discovered or was interested in learning about, seeing it as an opportunity to reacquaint himself with forgotten gems, discover something new himself, and also for the sheer pleasure of sharing something he loved with an appreciative audience. He would go into the back room of his studio and pull out a few old records and we would spend a while listening to and talking about that artist. This was often accompanied by the story of having met the artist or knowing of some anecdote that you wouldnt normally come across. He was so generous this way. Im so used to sharing all my new discoveries with him, bringing him questions, and seeking his advice about some compilation I was working on or music event I was planning. It is now one of the painful daily reminders that he is no longer here.

Charlie has been such a big influence in my life, in the development of my music knowledge and taste, in my profession as a music consultant, and as a friend. Someone who was so caring and so honest about his life experiences, he transmitted so much to me, for which I am eternally grateful. I still cant believe that he’s gone forever.

Lilly Ladjevardi

Back from India

March 12th, 2010

I just returned from two weeks in India, Goa to be precise. Music is everywhere there. Several live music events every night, musicians from around the world gather, experiment, collaborate, DJs galore play in the innumerable tea houses, restaurants and parties, music is an integral part of the many workshops, dance and yoga classes available, it plays on loudspeakers from Temples at night. And of course Indian classical music with its incredibly rich and complex tradition still permeates the landscape.

Being exposed to all this music and having traveled without my own soundtrack, it occurred to me that the music I spend most of my time listening to in London somehow wouldnt make sense in the Goa landscape. Perhaps some of the music I bring to listen to for weekends in the country could be transposed (Indian ragas, classical music), but I had no desire to listen to the 3 min tracks that make up a lot of what I listen to for work in London. It is the sense of time and space btwn a bustling city like London and a place like Goa that is so different and that was reflected in what I desired to listen to. Music to reflect your environment, city versus countryside, cold climate versus hot. Quite an obvious reflection, but a reminder nonetheless and inspiration of different musical perspectives and new playlists.

This morning really enjoying an album by the Indian violin maestro, L. Subramaniam, “Maestro’s Choice, 3rd Series”. Nothing in the world like good Indian ragas.

For those of you who enjoy trawling through music blogs, Ive got a very good recommendation: Sound of the World, BBC radio host Charlie Gillett’s website. Charlie has been on the radio for the past 40 years or so, beginning on Capital Radio in the 1970’s, a time when England was into Rock, and where he was playing little known pre-1960’s American music. He’s traveled a long way musically, while never losing his roots so to speak, and currently selects and plays some of the best and least known contemporary music coming from many parts of the world.

These days Charlie has a weekly music program on the BBC World Service (the only music show on the world service!) and focuses mainly on music traditions from around the world. As strange a category as that may seem, he weaves together songs from different parts of the world that speak to one another through rhythm, instrumentation, melody or some less definable but palpable connection.

Im listening to the show currently posted on the BBC World Service site, and the theme is songs sung in languages invented by the singers! The first song is by Julien Jacob from Benin, followed by Rhett Brewer from the US and then DVA from the Czech Republic…

There is a fantastic forum on Charlie’s website, where people share comments on all kinds of topics ranging from live shows to music discoveries, to best youtube music video clips and playlists on spotify.

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Arts Co and Pure Evil have joined forces to invite street and contemporary artists to take over The East Room and Sosho for three weeks of festive merriment and creativity.

The Evil Xmas Fayre which is a twisted take on a traditional European Christmas fair arrives at The East Room for 2 days on the 5th and 6th December 12- 5pm. Indulge in some festive tastes and pick up some real art bargains from all manner of street art luminaries and emerging talent including Bortusk Leer, Cyclops, Dscreet, Shuby, Hero. K Guy, Remi Rough,  Sweetoof and of course,!

As well as a selling exhibition of original art and prints, the artists will let the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future loose across both buildings. Experience Xmas hell (or heaven depending…) at Sosho – the walls will be wheat-pasted to the hilt by legions of Santa’s dark helpers (a mystery line up of London’s best street artists) or visit the Xmas Squat, a credit crunch vision of seasonal cheer positioned within a mural painted by the legendary duo Sweetoof and Cyclops.  The squat is an installation by Toronto native Fauxreel, whose documentary style photographs recreate abandoned businesses.  Closed up neighbourhood mom and pop shops come back to life within the walls of Sosho.

Next door at The East Room make your own snow globe in the narnia inspired Snow Globe Lounge designed by Samuel Levack and Jennifer Lewandowski or wander amongst the FIRtive Forest on the snow covered roof.  Warm up with some toffee vodka and cheese fondue in the Pop-up Alpine Lodge and get cosy as Mat Hourteillan hosts live VJ sessions. After feasting at the Christmas BBQ on the terrace participate in the live jukebox curated by Lilly Ladjevardi and Olivia Koerfer, founders of and indulge in afternoon tea with cupcake sensations Cherry on Top and ATTIC tea.

Lilly & I will have a stand at the fayre with a live jukebox and create an experimental playlists curated by visiting artists and members of the public alike. Come and join!

Evil Xmas Fayre at The East Room & Sosho, 5th and 6 th December 2009
Opening Hours:  12.00 to 17.00pm.
Entrance £1 donation in support of StreetSmart
The East Room & Sosho, 2 Tabernacle Street, EC2A 4LU |

My friend Charlie Gillett suggested I make a Rainy Day playlist, with a few suggestions:

1. I Can’t Stand the Rain

2. It Might As Well Rain Until September

3. The Day That the Rains Come Down

I was thinking of King Pleasure’s “Tomorrow is Another Day” which has been my soundtrack all morning- perfect for dancing round the house on a cloudy Saturday with a cup of tea in hand.

What are your suggestions?

hello museradio fans!

November 3rd, 2009

Welcome to the museradio blog!

We will be posting regularly, letting you know what we are up to, what’s going on in the London music scene and generally rambling on about music related stuff.

Please comment, we love your feedback!

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