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
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 Europe - Central, Eastern & Western
Latin American Folk
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.
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
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: email@example.com
WWUH Program Guide 2007