There was a time when world music could only be found in obscure record shops and on a Saturday afternoon on Radio 2 with Andy Kershaw. Then in the 1980s the music of Africa exploded onto the scene and we were listening with knowing intellectual and cultural approval to the sounds of the Bhundu Boys and Fela Kuti.

World music was suddenly a genre and if you didn’t know your Afro-Beat from your Dancehall you were plainly not plugged into the wider world. Fortunately such snobbery has long since disappeared and as the world has gotten smaller, so our access to music of all kinds has become more accessible. Influences from Indian Ragas to Nordic folk can be found in music across the board from classical to pop to jazz and back. World music turns out to be just music after all. It’s a joyous exploration of sound and timbre that continues to turn my world upside and inside out. The sounds and the rhythms that I come across continue to influence my music in weird and wonderful ways but also the similarities between an Irish jig and the playing of an Erhu in a village in rural China always astound me.

During Dreams of Freedom at The Royal Albert Hall you will hear many of these influences bought to bear on the whole team that has created the score – sometimes direct imitations and sometimes in subtle ways, invisible to the human ear.  But what is undeniable is that music has been set free by the age of the internet and YouTube. Go out and listen, experiment and enjoy. There is no right and wrong because as the saying goes, music is in the ear of the beholder…or something like that.

- Dave Carey, Senior Creative Producer in Music at Chickenshed Theatre