World Music

Travel with your ears. This comprehensive, massive (700-plus pages), and recently updated two-volume guide to global song covers the planet, from Norwegian fiddlers to Filipino folk rockers. It’s all here: what kind of music is out there, where it came from, who is playing it, and where to get it. Feeling stuck? Open up this book at random, order a CD, and enter another way of seeing.

-- KK  

Rough Guide World Music:
Europe, Asia and Pacific
2009 (3rd edition), 784 pages
$22

Available from Amazon

Vol. 2: Latin and North America, the Caribbean, Asia & the Pacific
2000 (2nd edition), 673 pages
$18
Available from Amazon

Sample Excerpts:

Indonesian Pop
Moluccan Moods Orchestra
(Piranha, Germany). If you haven’t heard of the Moluccans since they held up Dutch trains in the 1970s, give this disc a listen. Traditional songs arranged in laid-back style with exciting percussion, keyboards, saxophone and flute.

Zambian Pop
From the Copperbelt…Zambian Miner’s Songs
(Original Music, US). In the “African Acoustic” series, eighteen interesting-to-beautiful songs by the mine camp entertainers of the copper-belt that straddles Zambia and southeastern Zaire, field-recorded by ethno-musicologist Hugh Tracey in 1957.

Albanian
Famille Lela De Permet
Polyphonies vocales et instrumentales d’Albanie
(Indigo/Harmonia Mundi, France). Beautiful and approachable songs and instrumental music from the Permet and Korce regions of southern Albania. Wailing and sliding clarinets give this music an enchanting mournful sound.