The Culture Café "World Peace Through Cultural Celebration"
America is at the center of the world. Americans produce and consume a huge portion of everything produced and consumed in the entire earth. American culture dominates every household in any country with a TV, radio, or CD player. Madonna, U2 and the Rolling Stones sell millions of records worldwide. The world emulates the US. So why would any American be interested in music and culture from the rest of the world?
Most of the musical traditions of America came originally from Mediterranean Europe and Africa. Folk music, jazz, rock and roll, it all is based on music from somewhere else. Most of the original traditions of this nation of immigrants originated somewhere else. Most people can feel the music from their homeland, once they hear it played with feeling. It will make you laugh, or cry or dance uncontrollably.
The idea behind The Culture Café is to listen to the roots of our own music, as well as understand what has become of the music since we left it behind. Traditional African music has morphed into a myriad of new sizes and shapes, each country and each region of each country has developed its own music.
You might think the rest of the world is still beating on steel drums and wooden logs and Alan Lomax is still doing field recordings. On the contrary, recently, most of the high tech production methods have been established in the home countries. Senegal, Indonesia, and Brazil are home to some of the best production companies in the world. So the music being produced in these countries is often of the highest quality. Electric guitars and synthesized effects have changed the music profoundly. Traditions locked away on the world's back roads are being discovered and recorded by people like Baaba Maal, David Byrne, and David Lindley.
Everything's changing. Every week we receive new releases from groundbreaking groups like France's Paris Combo and Spain's Radio Tarifa. New musicians are discovered constantly in the churning market for World Music. Peter Gabriel's Realworld studios bring together musicians from all over the world to dialogue in rhythm and melody. The results are sent to the Culture Café where we review them weekly.
There's no way to be bored with this music, either. Here are a few of the traditions of music you can hear on the show:
Native American Cedar Flute Mexican Rock
Gypsy Jazz and Swing
Bulgarian Women's Choirs
South African Township Jive Soukous
Andean Panpipe Folk
Click here for the official Culture Café website.