Archive for the ‘world music’ Category
Some define the world music as any non-western music, but most people associate world music with that of a culture, played by native musicians with close associations to the music of their origin. It is useless to define this genre as “any music of the world” since it is obvious any music of the world is of this world.
In an attempt to narrow the definition, world music incorporates scales and inflections that are ethnic in origin. Often the music is played on traditional instruments like the sitar, steel drum, kora, didgeridoo or kalimba.
It is tempting to limit world music to traditional folk sounds, but that would give the art the short shrift. World music can venture from classical to pop and to something urban.
Among the various kinds of world music are:
Indian raga music
Japanese koto music
Music of the Balkan villages
Eastern European folk music
Tribal music of the Middle East
In the last century the homogenization of the world has allowed for frequent travel between countries, and the availability of affordable recording equipment has opened up cultures in a way that never occurred before.
With this new accessibility came the opportunity to mix and cross-over sound styles. It hasn’t been all good. In mixing the various cultures some of the authenticity and originality has been lost. The uniquely localized traditions have merged with other tribes and cultures, watering down the historical significance of the art form. Some of the hyper-local cultures have been lost altogether.
One of the cradles of world music is Paris, France which has attracted artists from North and West Africa. Paris also encourages these foreign artists to perform concerts and advance the cause of their sound.
It is no surprise that the communities that embrace the world music and promote it are thanked for their efforts to continue this marvelous musical option.
Traditionally, world music artist meant any musician who created a sound out of Africa, Asia, South and Central America, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean.
In the 1980s the rapid rise in popularity of non-English popular music in the U.S. and Great Britain prompted a search for a name for this new genre. “World music” was considered a lasting and mainstream style by the early 1990s.
This genre received early endorsement by Francis Bebey, a Cameroon national living in France who boosted the profile of this rich and soulful sound. France became an appreciative market.
The biggest stars in those early days were Fela Anikulapo Kuti and King Sunny Ade from Nigeria and Youssou N’Dour from Senegal.
In the 21st century world music grew to include the Pakistani sounds of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan who artfully blended technologically sophisticated rhythmic sounds with ancient messages. The French group Gipsy Kings were performers who wove this unique texture into a popular sound of the early new century.
World music has its share of detractors. The New York Times published an Op-Ed piece by David Byrne of the Luaka Bop music label. Titled, I Hate World Music, Byrne wrote that describing music of other cultures as “exotic” places an unfair advantage on world music artists over others performing in more typical genres.
The BBC Radio 3 obviously thinks otherwise, hosting World Music Awards from 2005 until 2008. Beginning in 2009 the Awards were hosted by the Music Magazine Songlines.
Today people around the world, in cities large and small, have the opportunity to hear world music through dozens of festivals occurring around the world. The largest is the Ariano Folk Festival in southern Italy. One of the smallest locales is in Trumansburg in the Finger Lakes region of New York, home of our believed world music artist, Samite Mulondo.
It usually takes place annually on the second-to-last weekend of July in Trumansburg, New York (10 Mi. North of Ithaca). GrassRoots presents over 60 bands on four stages for four days, in just about every genre you could think of, with the emphasis being on world, folk and ethnic music. Watch this site for future announcements.