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Voices of the World

World Music Reviews
by Brian Grosjean, host of Sunday morning FM On Toast
The Culture Café

World Peace Through Cultural Celebration

Slicing Up the World

  There is so much World Music to choose from today. Labels, websites and record stores have divided the music into genres to help sort out music you might be interested in. The music played on The Culture Café is found in lots of different genres. So when searching your favorite website or music store for a certain album or artist, it can become confusing.
  In order to help bring some clarity to all the genre slicing, here is a quick tour of some of the names that the industry uses for this music. (I leave out Reggae, Caribbean/Tropical, Latin Jazz, Celtic, Zydeco, and Indian because there are much more experienced people at WWUH to discuss those genres than myself!)

Acoustic World or World Folk Music
Western listeners first discovered that the rest of the world had a voice through the music of scratchy LP's playing field recordings of indigenous tribes and remote peoples. One can still find new releases of very organic recordings of peoples never recorded before. Original Music was a pioneer in this phase, now taken over by World Circuit and others.

Afro-Pop is a mélange of pop, rock and African influences that can reach the pop charts or to charge the dancefloor. Most of these releases originate in Africa or Paris now, with most of the artists preferring to stay home among their families.

Foreign Language Rock
Particularly in Asian and Latin circles, foreign artists are using rock music to try their hand at becoming stars. Most of this reaching us is very commercial, and well produced, which is not always a bad thing.

Individual Countries
For the most part, International or World Music is divided up by country. You will see most music stores have a small bin in the back of the store with dividers for countries, continents and certain people, like "Gypsy Music". This may be the best place to search for individual artists who are still recording within their countries. Here is the country lineup used by allmusic.com and many stores:

Central Asia
Central Europe - Central, Eastern & Western
Far East
Latin American Folk
Middle East
South Pacific

World Beat
I have never understood the label "World Beat". I assume it is used by lazy marketers to get by this music so they can spend more time on their money making pop music. It is used by the major press to push any music which might have an influence from places like Africa, the Middle East or indigenous South America. It is a catch-all for dance music, easy listening music, or just about anything else the label can't neatly file away.

World Fusion
Fusion usually means a combination of styles and influences. World fusion could mean a band that plays modern pop rock with some Arabic backing tracks, or a band from Egypt which uses traditional instruments and modern blues.

I hope this helps. Enjoy your shopping!

  It is my goal during my show to present music from the rest of the world, which enlightens and entertains. The Culture Café is a place where one can learn and be enriched by the cultures of other humans occupying this earth. It is my hope that once you hear the honest and emotional music from another culture there's no reason anymore to be afraid of them. This is the beginning of peace in our hearts and in our countries.

  Join me on my website to see all my music reviews, some links to concert websites, a list of world music labels geocities.com/culturecafe913

  Streaming audio from a recent Culture Café show can be found at: wwuh.org/program/music/folk/sunday/culture_cafe.html

  Other highly recommended websites for music from the rest of the world: Afropop Worldwide - based on the weekly Public Radio show: afropop.org

World Music to listen to and purchase: CDRoots.com

Links to ethnographic studies from the University of Indiana: library.music.indiana.edu/music_resources/ethnic.html

Or email me for specific requests:
Brian Grosjean, World Music Director
"World Peace Through Cultural Celebration"

WWUH Radio 91.3FM
University of Hartford
200 Bloomfield Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06117

Office: (860) 768-4703

E-mail Brian: culturecafe913@yahoo.com

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