Music is an art, an activity, and a form of recreation. It is prevalent all around the world, in different forms and tunes. Music is an important part of all our lives. It gives meaning, connects with our emotions, and provides solace in times.
The primary reason for world music is a broader perspective for the different forms of music present in the world. It primarily focuses on traditional, semi-traditional, quasi-classical, and folk music. The term ‘World Music’ was initially used for non-western music and ethnic music. Western Music became the norm of the 60s and world music emerged as the parallel to it. The term was coined in Wesleyan University, unaware of the fact that it will grow as a major aspect of music in the 90s and 20s. At the time of its origin, world music was a culmination of local and ethnic music. It was hoping to be inclusive and maintaining the true spirit of a musician. From a pianist to a guitarist, everyone was a musician. Even a remote tabla player or the traditional bagpiper was a part of the world music.
Examples of World Music:
- House Music
- Black Sludge
- Tabla Music
- Afro Beat
Famous World Music Artists:
- Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
- Kishore Kumar
- Gilberto Gil
- Fela Kuti
- Fanfare Ciocarlia
- Toumani Diabate
There are already many classical forms that have faced fading. The music that is practiced in local and small cities across the world needs more recognition. Many ethnomusicologists came together and formed an academic course for world music. Traditional degree courses on music included the most popular types and upcoming versions, the latest additions being Techno, Trance, and more. The course on world music is more broad and thorough. The course includes different music tones, rhythms, lullabies that are connected to folklore and culture. Music in the world music does not stand alone – it moves on the tunes of culture, history, and tradition.
Music has played an important role in world history as well. Some beats depict victory where some music spreads sadness. There are songs to be played on an important yearly event and songs for the celebration as well. This way music has been an active part of the lifestyle of people for decades. World music explores this side of music in addition to understanding basic notes of different musical tools and settings. Tools also differ from country to country. Flute, Piano, Violin, Drums, Guitar, etc did not all emerge from the same palace. They all traveled places for peace, connection, and affection. After much travel, these tools found the right combinations and became popular. Likewise, some traditional tools lost their values and were left to witness the decay of time. World music hopes to keep these symbols alive.
The darker side of world music is the lack of definition and restriction. It includes everything that connects to music. It began with non-western music. On its journey, world music included every genre that came the way. This was an open and kind approach. This approach led to a vague definition of world music. This created a kind of chaos within different sects of world music and it began to fall apart. Many different groups rose afterward, like African Music, Indie Music, etc. These did spread awareness and garnered attention. Over time, such groups came back to world music themes. With better connectivity and modern tools, world music became a larger phenomenon than expected.
How world music is gaining more popularity?
World music is also associated with music fusion. The last two-three decades have witnessed a lot of mobilization and globalization. Migration has been on a rise. The monopoly of cultural areas broke and so did the music. Multi-cultures came into place. Hybrid music took over. The fusion of music – western and non-western led to a rise in the recognition of world music. Local and remote musical trends reached the cosmopolitan cities and more people got attracted to them.
World music is more popular than ever before, kudos to the internet. With the rise of connectivity, the world music saw a new light. Youtube, Instagram, TikTok became famous platforms to share music from different regions of the world. World music always faced an issue of lack of reach to the right audience. Internet solved this issue. Video sharing platforms gave the artists and audience a medium to connect and celebrate. With TikTok and similar platforms, in the picture, the artists found a way to spread more awareness and gather appreciation for different music forms.
How the digital media revolutionized world music?
The consumption of world music increased, from only music-specialists to every music lover. The sounds of folk reached new ears and touched new hearts. The fusion of music did not only lead to fusion in musical notes but fusion in music-consumption patterns. Even companies accepted this change in advertisements, promotion, movies, and more. This marks the most progressive step towards the direction of world music. Many top-billboard artists have also chosen to connect with ethnic and non-western artists for new projects. Even Billboard itself has recognized world music. It has labeled this category as ‘New Age’ or ‘Adult Alternative Albums’. There is a long way to go for this category, but this recognition in itself is great and inspiring.
The era of technology is a new bright era for world music. The term ‘world music’, although, does not come much in the picture. The principles of world music remain. Traditional artists are reaching global charts. Ethnic music is regaining its charm. Local musical tools and equipment are finding their way back to music stores, music-based cafés, and theaters. The curve is not steep, but it is smooth and moving upwards!
You might be listening to traditional musical beats, dancing to the words of an Indie artist, or meditating on classical music. You may be connected to world music without being aware of it. Modern music playing platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube Music, etc, all have different categories that fall under “world music”.