Music of the World

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Music of the World is a World music record label that was active from 1982 to 2000. The company produced over 100 CDs and cassettes of traditional and contemporary artists from around the world. Nomad and Latitudes were imprint labels.[1]

Music of the World was formed in New York in the early 1980s by Bob Haddad, an amateur ethnomusicologist, teacher and professional musician, who began to record demo tapes for traditional musicians in his apartment. Word began to spread among world music artists who needed recordings to sell at their gigs, and soon, world-class musicians began contacting Bob to ask for his help in producing recordings.

During these early years, and before a commercial consciousness of “world music” had developed, Music of the World was the only world music-based cassette music label in the West. Its catalog rapidly expanded to include artists from Africa, India, Asia, and Latin America, and in addition to opening accounts with major retailers across the USA, the company began to export its recordings for overseas distribution. In 1989, Haddad relocated the label from Brooklyn, NY to Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his partner, Martha Lorantos. It was here where the label would see unprecedented growth. In that same year, the first two CDs were released, and over the next ten years, over 90 additional CD titles were produced. The label was distributed in over twenty countries worldwide.

The mid-1990s were peak years for the label, and were marked by the commercial success of several recordings, including the award-winning Vintage Beausoleil (Michael Doucet and BeauSoleil; The Grammy-nominated Raga Aberi (with L. Shankar, Zakir Hussain and Vikku Vinayakram; and one of the label’s best selling recordings, Talking Spirits, featuring various Native American artists. In addition to the premier Music of the World (MOW) label, two label imprints were born during this period of growth. Nomad Records featured modern world music and world jazz, and Latitudes was a mid-price label featuring single-artist releases and compilations of traditional world music. The label received many awards from independent recording organizations such as NAIRD (AFIM) and NARAS (Grammys). Unlike other world music labels that licensed music tracks and entire recordings form other labels for re-release, Music of the World produced virtually all its own recordings. Bob, Martha and staff personally coordinated A&R and worked closely with the artists, and Bob produced the great majority of the albums released on the labels. Other remarkable recordings and roster artists include Glen Velez, the father of modern frame drumming (Handdance; Ramana - USA); Dumisani Maraire (Chaminuka; Shona Spirit [with Ephat Mujuru] - Zimbabwe); Hassan Hakmoun (The Fire Within - Morocco); Badal Roy (Yantra; One in the Pocket - Bangladesh/USA); Tarun Bhattacharya and Bikram Ghosh (Sargam; Kirvani - India); Jalal Zolfonun (Kord Bayat; Mystic Journey - Iran), and many others.

In 2000, shortly after the emergence of Napster and during a time of great difficulty for independent record labels, Music of the World was acquired by digital download leader emusic.com. Today, the entire MOW catalog is available for download at emusic, now part of TriPlay. Currently, physical copies of Music of the World, Nomad and Latitudes CDs are hard to find at stores, but internet suppliers still carry many titles.

Some Music of the World Artists[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]