|Stylistic origins||Non-Western musical traditions|
|Cultural origins||Traditional elements were born in the global spectrum of indigenous culture; Fusion with contemporary music elements|
|Typical instruments||Traditional and modern stringed (electric and acoustic), wind, percussion and plucked tonged instruments, keyboards and synthesizers|
|2014 in world music|
World music is a musical category encompassing many different styles of music from around the world, including traditional music, neotraditional music, and music where more than one cultural tradition intermingle. World music's inclusive nature and elasticity as a musical category pose obstacles to a universal definition, but its ethic of interest in the culturally exotic is encapsulated in fRoots magazine's description of the genre as "local music from out there". The term originated in the late 20th century as a marketing category and academic classification for non-Western traditional music. Globalization has facilitated the expansion of world music's audiences and scope. It has grown to include hybrid sub-genres such as world fusion, global fusion, ethnic fusion and worldbeat.
- 1 Terminology
- 2 Examples
- 3 Hybrid examples
- 4 Popular non-Western genres
- 5 After 1987: WOMAD and beyond
- 6 Marketing
- 7 Relationship to immigration and multiculturalism
- 8 World Music Month
- 9 Today
- 10 Criticisms
- 11 Awards
- 12 Festivals
- 13 See also
- 14 Notes
- 15 References
- 16 External links
The term has been credited to ethnomusicologist Robert E. Brown, who coined it in the early 1960s at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where he developed undergraduate through the doctoral programs in the discipline. To enhance the process of learning, he invited more than a dozen visiting performers from Africa and Asia and began a world music concert series. The term became current in the 1980s as a marketing/classificatory device in the media and the music industry, and it is often used to classify any kind of non-Western music.
There are several conflicting definitions for world music. One is that it consists of "all the music in the world", though such a broad definition renders the word virtually meaningless. The term also is taken as a classification of music that combines Western popular music styles with one of many genres of non-Western music that are also described as folk music or ethnic music. However, world music is not exclusively traditional folk music. It may include cutting edge pop music styles as well. Succinctly, it can be described as "local music from out there", or "someone else's local music". It is a very nebulous term with an increasing number of genres that fall under the umbrella of world music to capture musical trends of combined ethnic style and texture, including Western elements (examples noted in this section).
World music may incorporate distinctive non-Western scales, modes and/or musical inflections, and often features distinctive traditional ethnic instruments, such as the kora (West African harp), the steel drum, the sitar or the didgeridoo.
Music from around the world exerts wide cross-cultural influence as styles naturally influence one another, and in recent years world music has also been marketed as a successful genre in itself. Academic study of world music, as well as the musical genres and individual artists with which it has been associated, can be found in such disciplines as anthropology, folkloristics, performance studies and ethnomusicology.
In the age of digital music production the increased availability of high-quality, ethnic music samples, sound bites and loops from every known region are commonly used in commercial music production, which has exposed a vast spectrum of indigenous music texture to developing, independent artists. These influences proliferate quickly in a web-based music industry that is now percolating as a much larger, predominantly self-promoted menu, via an increasing number of indie-artist-friendly, streaming internet options, such as Last.fm, Rhapsody, Live365, Jango Artist Airplay and ReverbNation. An amalgamation of roots music in the global, contemporary listening palette has become apparent, which weakens the role major entertainment labels can play in the cultural perception of genre boundaries. As a result, definitions of the genre have become particularly varied, and determined by particularly wide-ranging and varied opinions.
Similar terminology between distinctly different sub-categories under primary music genres, such as world, rock and pop can be as ambiguous and confusing to industry moguls as it is to consumers. This is especially true in the context of world music, where branches of ethnically influenced pop trends are as genre-defined by consumer perception as they are by the music industry forums that govern the basis for categorical distinction. Academic scholars tend to agree that, in today's world of consumer music reviews and blogging, global music culture's public perception is what ultimately distils a prevailing basis for definition from genre ambiguity, regardless of how clearly a category has been outlined by corporate marketing forums and music journalism. The world music genre's gradual migration from a clear spectrum of roots music traditions to an extended list of hybrid sub-genres is a good example of the motion genre boundaries can exhibit in a globalizing pop culture. The classic, original definition of world music was in part created to instill a perceived authenticity and distinction between indigenous music traditions and those that eventually become diluted by pop culture, and the modern debate over how possible it is to maintain that perception in the richly diverse genre of world music is ongoing.
In a report on the 2014 globalFEST National Public Radio's Anastasia Tsioulcas said "Even within the "world music" community, nobody likes the term "world music." It smacks of all kinds of loaded issues, from cultural colonialism to questions about what's "authentic" and what isn't (and who might get to police such inquiries), and forces an incredible array of styles that don't have anything in common under the label of "exotic Other." What's more: I believe that in many people's imaginations, "world music" means a kind of fairly awful, gloppy, hippy-ish, worldbeat fusion. It's a problematic, horrible term that satisfies absolutely no one." 
Examples of popular forms of world music include the various forms of non-European classical music (e.g. Japanese koto music, Indian raga music, Tibetan chants), Eastern European folk music (e.g. the village music of the Balkans), Nordic folk music and the many forms of folk and tribal music of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Central and South America. The Breton musician Alan Stivell pioneered the connection between traditional folk music, modern rock music and world music with his 1970's album Renaissance of the Celtic Harp.
The broad category of world music includes isolated forms of ethnic music from diverse geographical regions. These dissimilar strains of ethnic music are commonly categorized together by virtue of their indigenous roots. Over the 20th century, the invention of sound recording, low-cost international air travel and common access to global communication among artists and the general public has given rise to a related phenomenon called "crossover" music. Musicians from diverse cultures and locations could readily access recorded music from around the world, see and hear visiting musicians from other cultures and visit other countries to play their own music, creating a melting pot of stylistic influences.
While communication technology allows greater access to obscure forms of music, the pressures of commercialization also present the risk of increasing musical homogeneity, the blurring of regional identities, and the gradual extinction of traditional local music-making practices.
Since the music industry established this term, the fuller scope of what an average music consumer defines as "world" music in today's market has grown to include various blends of ethnic music tradition, style and interpretation, and derivative world music genres have been coined to represent these hybrids, such as World fusion, Global fusion, Ethnic fusion or Worldbeat. Good examples of hybrid, world fusion are the Irish / West African meld of Afro Celt Sound System, the pan-cultural sound of Aomusic and the jazz / Finnish folk music of Värttinä, each of which bare tinges of contemporary, Western influence—an increasingly noticeable element in the expansion genres of world music. World fusion / Worldbeat / Ethnic fusion / Global fusion can also blend specific indigenous sounds with more blatant elements of Western pop. Good examples are Paul Simon's Graceland album, on which South African Mbaqanga music is heard, Peter Gabriel's work with Pakistani Sufi singer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and the Deep Forest project, in which vocal loops from West Africa are blended with Western, contemporary rhythmic textures and harmony structure. More recent bands who exhibit experimentation with World music Hybrid Forms include Vampire Weekend, The Very Best, Island Cassettes & Yeasayer many of which cite inspiration from the work of Paul Simon.
Depending on style and context, world music can sometimes share the New age music genre, which is a category that often includes Ambient music and textural expressions from indigenous roots sources. Good examples are Tibetan bowls, Tuvan throat singing, Gregorian chant or Native American flute music. World music blended with New age music is a sound, loosely classified as the hybrid genre, ethnic fusion. Examples of ethnic fusion are Nicholas Gunn's "Face-to-Face" from Beyond Grand Canyon, featuring authentic Native American flute combined with synthesizers, and "Four Worlds" from The Music of the Grand Canyon, featuring spoken word from Razor Saltboy of the Navajo Indian Nation.
The sub-genre world fusion is often, mistakenly assumed to refer exclusively to a blending of Western jazz fusion elements with world music. Although such a hybrid expression falls easily into the world fusion category, the suffix "fusion" in the term world fusion should not be assumed to mean only jazz fusion. Western jazz combined with strong elements of world music is more accurately termed world fusion jazz, ethnic jazz or non-Western jazz. World fusion and global fusion are nearly synonymous with the genre term worldbeat, and though these are considered sub-genres of popular music, they may also imply universal expressions of the more general term, world music. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, fusion in the jazz music genre implied a blending of jazz and rock music, which is where the misleading assumption is rooted.
Popular non-Western genres
Although it primarily describes traditional music, the world music category also includes popular music from non-Western urban communities (e.g. South African "township" music) and non-European music forms that have been influenced by other so-called third-world musics (e.g. Afro-Cuban music), although Western-style popular song sourced from non-English-speaking countries in Western Europe (e.g. French pop music) would not generally be considered world music.
Paris is one of the great European capitals for world music. For many years, the city has attracted numerous musicians from former colonies in West and North Africa. This scene is aided by the fact that there are many concerts and institutions that help promote the music.
Algerian and Moroccan music have an important presence in the French capital. Hundreds of thousands of Algerian and Moroccan immigrants have settled in Paris, bringing the sounds of Amazigh (Berber), raï, and Gnawa music. Algerian raï also found a large French audience.
After 1987: WOMAD and beyond
One origin of the term was the initiation of World Music Day (Fête de la Musique) in 1982 in France. World Music Day has been celebrated on 21 June every year since then. On 29 June 1987 a meeting of interested parties gathered to capitalize on the marketing of this genre. Arguably popular interest was sparked with the release in 1986 of Paul Simon's Graceland album. The concept behind the album was to express his own sensibilities using the sounds he had fallen in love with while listening to artists from Southern Africa, including Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Savuka. This project and the work of Peter Gabriel and Johnny Clegg among others had, to some degree, introduced non-Western music to a wider audience. They saw this as an opportunity which should not be ignored. Zila Khan is one of today's leading singers in World Music.
Before 1987, world music had a following but it was still difficult for interested parties to sell their music to the larger music stores. Although specialist music stores had been important in developing the genre over many years, the record companies, broadcasters and journalists had been finding it difficult to build a following because the music, itself, seemed too scarce. However, they were aware that the jazz and classical markets had developed a crossover audience and decided that the best way forward would be to have a collective strategy in order to bring the music to a wider audience.
At around this time, Cultural Co-operation started the Music Village Festival. A regular series of free world music festivals which are running to this day. A network of world music artists was also created to help promote their work.
At the outset of the 1987 meeting, the musician Roger Armstrong advised the reason why something needed to be done:
[He] felt that the main problem in selling our kind of material lay with the UK retail outlets and, specifically, the fact that they did not know how to rack it coherently. This discouraged [the retail stores] from stocking the material in any depth and made it more difficult for the record buyers to become acquainted with our catalogs.
The first concern of the meetings was to select the umbrella name that this music would be listed under. Suggestions included "world beat" and prefixing words such as "hot" or "tropical" to existing genre titles. "World music" won after a show of hands, but initially it was not meant to be the title for a whole new genre, rather something which all of the record labels could place on the sleeves of records in order to distinguish them during the forthcoming campaign. Afterward they agreed that despite the publicity campaign, this wasn't an exclusive club and that for the good of all, any label which was selling this type of music would be able to take advantage.
Another issue which needed to be addressed was the distribution methods which existed at the time. Most of the main labels were unhappy with the lack of specialist knowledge displayed by sales persons which led to poor service; there was also a reluctance amongst many of the larger outlets to carry the music, because they understandably liked larger releases which could be promoted within store. It was difficult to justify a large presentation expense if the stock going into stores was limited.
One of the marketing strategies used in the vinyl market at the time was the use of browser cards, which would appear in the record racks. As part of the "world music" campaign, it was decided that these would be a two color affair designed to carry a special offer package; to aid the retailer a selection of labels would also be included, presumably for shelf or rack edging.
In an unprecedented move, all of the world music labels coordinated together and developed a compilation cassette for the cover of the music magazine NME. The overall running time was 90 minutes, each package containing a mini-catalog showing the other releases on offer.
By the time of a second meeting it was becoming clear that in order for the campaign to be successful, it should have its own dedicated press officer. The press officer would be able to juggle the various deadlines and also be able to sell the music as a concept to not just the national stations, but also regional DJs who were keen to expand the variety of music they could offer. The DJs were a key resource as it was important for "world music" to be seen as something which could be important to people outside London - most regions after all had a similarly rich folk heritage which could be tapped into. A cost-effective way of achieving all this would be a leafleting campaign.
The next step was to develop a world music chart, gathering together selling information from around fifty shops, so that it would finally be possible to see which were big sellers in the genre — allowing new listeners to see what was particularly popular. It was agreed that the NME could again be involved in printing the chart and also Music Week and the London listings magazine City Limits. It was also suggested that Andy Kershaw might be persuaded to do a run down of this chart on his show regularly.
Relationship to immigration and multiculturalism
In most wealthy industrialized countries, large amounts of immigration from other regions has been ongoing for many decades. This has introduced non-Western music to Western audiences not only has "exotic" imports, but also as local music played by fellow citizens. Caribbean music in the United Kingdom or Chicano rock in the United States would be two obvious examples. But the process is ongoing and continues to produce new forms. In the 2010s several musicians from immigrant communities in the West rose to global popularity, such as Haitian-American Wyclef Jean, Somali-Canadian K'naan, Tamil-Briton M.I.A., or Lebanese-Colombian Shakira, often blending the music of their heritage with hip-hop or pop.
The diverse nature of major Western cities has changed the pace of musical intermixing. Once, an established Western artist might collaborate with an established African artist to produce an album or two. Now, new bands and new genres are built from the ground up by young performers. For example the Punjabi-Irish fusion band Delhi 2 Dublin is from neither India nor Ireland, but Vancouver, Canada.
In Vancouver, musicians and composers also work collectively to create original compositions for various combinations of ethnic and western instruments. The JUNO nominated Orchid Ensemble is a trio of two Chinese instruments and the marimba (plus other percussion instruments). It has been touring across North American since 1997. The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra stages musicians and instruments from China, Taiwan, India, Iran, Africa, Vietnam,.... with Canadian western orchestral players.
There is also Canada's most famous Traditional Indian Classical Musician, Cassius Khan who is an award winning internationally renowned as the world's only Ghazal singer who accompanies himself on the Tabla a two piece hand drum indigenous to India. Khan himself has not made his views unknown on his dislike to Robert E Brown's term "World Music" by publicly stating he found the term "Colonial and Oppressing" and he has been a hot issue in most underground meetings of the musical elites in Canada.
World Music Month
October 1987 was designated 'World Music Month'. A music festival, Crossing the Border, was held at the Town & Country Club in London, and it was the start of the winter season for both WOMAD and Arts Worldwide. The main press release stressed the issues inherent in the campaign.
Since the early 80s the enthusiasm for music from 'outside' Western pop culture has been steadily mounting. More and more international artists, many of whom are big stars in their own countries, are coming to England and North America on tour. They started off, like the Bhundu Boys, playing small clubs and pubs, but now many acts are so popular that they are filling larger venues.
Examples of radio shows that feature world music include World of Music on Voice of America, Transpacific Sound Paradise on WFMU, The Planet on Australia's ABC Radio National, DJ Edu presenting D.N.A: DestiNation Africa on BBC Radio 1Xtra, Adil Ray on the BBC Asian Network, Andy Kershaw's show on BBC Radio 3 and Charlie Gillett's show on the BBC World Service.
World music radio programs today often play African hip hop or reggae artists, crossover Bhangra and Latin American jazz groups, etc. Common media for world music include public radio, webcasting, the BBC, NPR, and ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). The scope of what is considered world music has increased. By default, non-region-specific or multi-cultural world music projects are often listed under the generic category of world music.
The generally accepted geographic standard for what designates world music is withstanding criticism for its universal asymmetry, where nearly every classifiable region under the term is defined, relative to Western music culture; this is primarily due to the fact that dominant corporate structures for music distribution and promotion originate in Western Europe and North America, as do the forums for establishing industry genre categories. Therefore, in market context, "ethnic" music is synthetically defined by a radius that extends from a Western center.
Some musicians and curators of music have come to dislike the term "world music". To these critics, "world music" is a parochial, catch-all marketing term for non-Western music of all genres. In October 1999, Luaka Bop label founder and ex-Talking Heads frontman David Byrne wrote an "I Hate World Music" editorial in The New York Times explaining his objections to the term. Byrne argued that the labelling and categorization of other cultures as "exotic" serves to attract an insincere consumption and deter other potential consumers.
The BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music was an award given to world music artists between 2002 and 2008, sponsored by BBC Radio 3. The award was thought up by fRoots magazine's editor Ian Anderson, inspired by the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Award categories included: Africa, Asia/Pacific, Americas, Europe, Mid East and North Africa, Newcomer, Culture Crossing, Club Global, Album of the Year, and Audience Award. Initial lists of nominees in each category were selected annually by a panel of several thousand industry experts. Shortlisted nominees were voted on by a twelve-member jury, which selected the winners in every category except for the Audience Award category. These jury members were appointed and presided over by the BBC. The annual awards ceremony was held at the BBC Proms and winners were given an award called a "Planet". In March 2009, the BBC made a decision to axe the BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music.
In response to the BBC's decision to end its awards program, the British world music magazine Songlines launched the Songlines Music Awards in 2009 "to recognise outstanding talent in world music".
The WOMEX Awards were introduced in 1999 to honor the high points of world music on an international level and to acknowledge musical excellence, social importance, commercial success, political impact and lifetime achievement. Every October at the WOMEX event, the award figurine - an ancient mother goddess statue dating back about 6000 years to the Neolithic age - is presented in an award ceremony to a worthy member of the world music community.
Many festivals are identified as being "world music"; here is a small representative selection:
- The WOMAD Foundation organizes festivals in countries around the world. These festivals have featured artists including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Youssou N'Dour, Peter Gabriel and Jaojoby.
- The Globe to Globe World Music Festival takes place in the City of Kingston, Melbourne, for 2 days each year in January.
- Sunfest is an annual 4-day world music music festival that happens in London, Ontario, primarily in Victoria Park that typically runs the weekend after Canada Day in early July. Sunfest is billed as Canada’s Premier Celebration of World Cultures.
- Ethnoambient is a two or three-day world music festival held every summer (started 1998) in Solin, a town in center part of Dalmatia, south part of Croatia.
- The TFF Rudolstadt takes place annually on the first full July weekend in Rudolstadt, Thuringia, Germany.
- The German World Music Festival der Klangfreunde takes place every first weekend of August, at Schlosspark Loshausen. Klangfreunde e. V. is a non-profit organization.
- Wilde Töne, Festival für Folk- und Weltmusik in Braunschweig Germany
- The Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival (LGMF) takes place annually during December-January, often across several major cities in India. The LGMF has also traveled to 22 countries. 
- A directory of Music Festivals in Ireland - Music Festivals Ireland - www.musicfestivalsireland.ie
- The Ariano Folkfestival is a five-day world music festival held every summer in Ariano Irpino, a small town in southern Italy.
- The World Music Festival Lo Sguardo di Ulisse was first held in 1997 in Campania, Italy.
Mali (West Africa)
- The Festival in the Desert takes place every year at Essakane, near Timbuktu, in Mali, West Africa and has achieved international status in spite of the difficulties of reaching its location.
- Mawazine is a festival of world music that takes place annually in Rabat, Morocco, featuring Arab and international music icons.
- Festival in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Early March each year.
- The Cross-Culture Warsaw Festival, Poland. September each year.
- Brave Festival, Wroclaw, Poland. July each year. 
- Ethno Port, Poznan, Poland. June each year. 
- Ethno Jazz Festival in Wroclaw, Poland. Several events throughout the whole year. 
- Different Sounds (Inne brzmienia), Lublin, Poland. July each year.
- Francophonic Festival in Warsaw, Poland. March each year. 
- Nowa Tradycja (New Tradition), Warsaw, Poland. May each year.
- Siesta Festival, Gdansk, Poland. First edition in April/May 2011. 
- Plai Festival in Timisoara
- The Serbia World Music Festival is a three-day world music festival held every summer in Takovo, a small village in central Serbia.
Spain Spain's most important world music festivals are:
- Etnosur, in Alcalá la Real, Jaén (Andalucía region)
- Pirineos Sur, in Aragón region
- Festival Internacional de Música Popular Tradicional in Vilanova i la Geltrú / Vilanova International World Music Festival (Catalonia)
- La Mar de Músicas, in Cartagena (Murcia region)
- Fira Mediterrània, in Manresa (Catalonia)
- The WOMEX when in Seville (2003, 2006, 2007, 2008)
- Territorios, in Seville
- Konya Mystic Music Festival, held annually in Konya since 2004, in recent years in commemoration of Rumi's birthday. The festival features traditional music from around the world with a mystical theme, religious function and/or sacred content.
- Fethiye World Music Fesitval. The Fethiye World Music Festival presents musicians from different countries of the world for concerts that will contribute to the city’s arts and culture.
- Svirzh World Music Festival (Lviv region)
- Glastonbury Festival held at Worthy Farm near Glastonbury each year
- Musicport World Music Festival held annually at The Spa Pavilion, Whitby, North Yorkshire.
- Music Village Festival is Europe's longest running festival of world cultures. It is held every two years in London and has been running since 1983. It is organised by the Cultural Co-operation
- The California World Music Festival is held each July at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.
- The World Sacred Music Festival is held annually in Olympia, Washington State, sponsored by Interfaith Works.
- FloydFest in Floyd, Virginia, United States, has featured artists from a wide diversity of styles including Ani DiFranco, Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie, Trumystic, Nickel Creek and Akoya Afrobeat Enemble.
- The Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg, New York, United States, has featured artists from a variety of world and ethnic music genres including Tinariwen, Thomas Mapfumo, Michael Franti, D'Gary, Boubacar Traore, Mamadou Diabate, and many more from around the world.
- Stern Grove Festival is a San Francisco celebration of musical and cultural diversity. Examples: Lucinda Williams, John Doe, Ojos de Brujo, O-Maya, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the Funk Brothers and also symphony orchestras and operatic stars.
- The Starwood Festival is a seven-day Neopagan, New Age, multi-cultural and world music festival that has been held in July every year since 1981 at various locations in the United States. It has featured such world music acts as Amampondo, Babatunde Olatunji, Badal Roy, Sikiru Adepoju, the Prodigals, Yaya Diallo, Merl Saunders and the Rainforest Band, Baka Beyond, Stephen Kent, Cyro Baptista, Airto Moreira, Muruga Booker, Gaelic Storm, and Halim El-Dabh.
- Chris Nickson. The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to World Music. Grand Central Press, 2004. pp 1-2.
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- Nidel 2004, p.3
- fRoots magazine, quoted in N'Dour 2004, p. 1
- Songlines magazine
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- http://www.npr.org/2014/01/16/263081652/what-makes-globalfest-so-interesting What Makes globalFEST So Interesting 1/16/14 by Anastasia Tsioulcas Retrieved 1/16/14
- Bruce Elder. All Music Guide, http://www.answers.com/topic/renaissance-of-the-celtic-harp. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
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- Donovan, Paul (2009-03-22). "Mystery of missing BBC music awards". London: The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
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- Songlines Music Award winners
- WOMEX Awards
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- "LGMF". L Subramaniam Foundation. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
- Festival in the Desert - Artist Detail Information; BBC Four, "Festival in the Desert 2004", 5 November 2004.
- Mawazine festival website
- [dead link]
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- List of World Music Festivals
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- Wilde Töne – Festival for Folk- and Weltmusic Braunschweig | Germany