The Grammy Award for Best World Music Album is an honor presented to recording artists for quality albums in the world music genre at the Grammy Awards, a ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards. Honors in several categories are presented at the ceremony annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position".
The award for Best World Music Album, reserved for international performers exhibiting "non-European, indigenous traditions", was first presented to Mickey Hart in 1992 for the album Planet Drum. In 1996, Academy trustees attempted to solve the problem of "compressing 75% or more of the world's music into a single award category" by broadening the definition of "world music" to include non-Western classical music. Beginning in 2001, award recipients included the producers, engineers, and/or mixers associated with the nominated work in addition to the recording artists. Following the 45th Grammy Awards (2003), the award was split into two separate categories for Best Traditional World Music Album and Best Contemporary World Music Album. In 2012, the two categories were merged back to Best World Music Album.
Ry Cooder and Ravi Shankar are the only performing artist to win the award more than once: Cooder won in 1994 with Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and in 1995 with Ali Farka Touré; Shankar won in 2002 and posthumously in 2013. Brazilian artists have been presented with the award more than any other nationality, though it has been presented to musicians or groups from the United States three times, from India twice, and from France, Ireland, Mali and Panama once. Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora and the group Gipsy Kings share the record for the most nominations, with five each (neither won an award).