Spanish authors and publishers collecting society SGAE has launched a world music label called Musica de Autores del Mundo (MAM), which aims to release five albums a year recorded in Spain by immigrant musicians living in the country. The first two releases were showcased Sept. 23 at Madrid's National Museum of Anthropology.

Cameroon's Justin Tchatchoua and his group played several songs from "Lali, El Sueno Africano" (MAM) and Guinea-Bissau's Simao Felix performed numbers from "Olyly" (MAM). Also performing at the showcase was Peru's Sara Van, who will have her new album released this fall on MAM. A fourth release this year will be by Galicia-born Olalla Bouzas.

"MAM is an immediate response to the reality of Spanish society today," says Luis Francisco Garcia, director of SGAE label Sello Autor, which has launched MAM through SGAE's promotions arm Fundacion Autor.

"In the past few years the immigrant population in Spain has grown enormously, and among the new citizens are authors and artists from many countries who find in Spain the same problems - if not worse - than those experienced by Spanish artists who want to get their work known."

Garcia said that MAM will not import music from the countries of origin of the artists. "The music will be recorded in Spanish studios in cities such as Seville, Madrid, Ciudad Real and Valencia," he says.

Despite the risk involved in setting up a new label in the current climate of declining CD sales, Garcia says he is confident MAM has a "prosperous future". He adds, "The reaction of the Spain-based immigrants among SGAE's members [to MAM] has been the most numerous and immediate of all the initiatives of Sello Autor since it was formed eight years ago."

Tchatchoua, who lived in Nigeria for many years before moving to Spain in 1983 and whose Nigerian single, "Love Me The Way I Do" (Rogers All Stars) sold more than 900,000 units in that country, says "MAM is an advance for music, because it opens up the market to other kinds of music that until now had no space in record labels. This benefits many artists who until now could not create freely without wondering if they could ever reach a market."

Simao Felix adds, "Until now there was nothing similar to this project [in Spain]. All I want to do is to play, have concerts and I think I'll achieve that with this label".

MAM had a pre-launch presentation in late May at the Cubadisco music trade event in Havana, Cuba, whose theme this year was Africa and its Diaspora. Tchatchoua and Felix performed with Cuban artists of African roots at concerts in the Cuban capital.