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Definition of World Music

Spleen Cringe 09 Dec 08 - 03:27 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Dec 08 - 03:32 PM
Wesley S 09 Dec 08 - 03:33 PM
Will Fly 09 Dec 08 - 03:35 PM
greg stephens 09 Dec 08 - 04:14 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Dec 08 - 04:16 PM
jeffp 09 Dec 08 - 04:25 PM
Spleen Cringe 09 Dec 08 - 04:59 PM
TheSnail 09 Dec 08 - 05:28 PM
greg stephens 09 Dec 08 - 05:33 PM
Anne Lister 09 Dec 08 - 06:01 PM
Michael S 09 Dec 08 - 07:04 PM
Nerd 09 Dec 08 - 07:26 PM
Michael S 09 Dec 08 - 07:44 PM
M.Ted 09 Dec 08 - 08:02 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Dec 08 - 03:53 AM
Jack Blandiver 10 Dec 08 - 04:28 AM
Dave Hanson 10 Dec 08 - 05:18 AM
Folk Form # 1 10 Dec 08 - 06:40 AM
VirginiaTam 10 Dec 08 - 07:52 AM
VirginiaTam 10 Dec 08 - 07:53 AM
Vic Smith 10 Dec 08 - 07:59 AM
Tim Leaning 10 Dec 08 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 10 Dec 08 - 08:56 AM
Art Thieme 10 Dec 08 - 11:42 AM
Dan Schatz 10 Dec 08 - 11:45 AM
Art Thieme 10 Dec 08 - 11:51 AM
Michael S 10 Dec 08 - 11:55 AM
GLoux 10 Dec 08 - 11:58 AM
pdq 10 Dec 08 - 11:58 AM
Michael S 10 Dec 08 - 12:15 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Dec 08 - 12:23 PM
Piers Plowman 10 Dec 08 - 12:41 PM
Jack Blandiver 10 Dec 08 - 01:07 PM
Spleen Cringe 10 Dec 08 - 03:47 PM
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Subject: Definition of World Music
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 03:27 PM

So go on then, what is it?

A lazy catch-all term or a useful description?

Is it anything to do with folk/roots/traditional music from around the globe or is it simply shorthand for pop music not sung in English?

Or both?

Or neither?

I used to think I knew what was meant - though I never liked the actual term - now I'm not so sure.


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 03:32 PM

I've never been clear what a term like "World Music" can actually exclude.


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Wesley S
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 03:33 PM

It's a term devised by retailers - store owners - so that they don't have to have 86 different headings scattered throughout their store. If it isn't rock, folk, blues, country, classical ect you can find all those "other" recordings back in the far corner of the store.


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 03:35 PM

I've always thought of it as yet another convenient marketing term - thi time for music emanating mainly, but not totally from places outside Europe and the West...

Like "Celtic" is a marketing term to describe traditional music from Ireland and Scotland, and sometimes Brittany. But let's not go there...


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 04:14 PM

All music's world music.I never heard no Martian sing a song.


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 04:16 PM

Damn, Greg, I was going to say that.

I hope the Martians don't mind.


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: jeffp
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 04:25 PM

In the US, World Music includes anything not from the US that doesn't conveniently fit other categories like rock, classical, jazz, etc. For example, I found Dean Martin under the Italy section of World Music along with a CD of Music from Sicily. Go figure.


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 04:59 PM

All music's world music.I never heard no Martian sing a song

Fantastic, Greg! That's going in my top ten quotes of the year... Please may I steal and use it?


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: TheSnail
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 05:28 PM

I wondered about starting a thread like this myself....

but thought better of it.


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 05:33 PM

Spleen Cringe: you are welcome to borrow it. Actually, on reflection, for full effect I should have written
"All music's world music. Leastways, I never heard no Martian sing a song".


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Anne Lister
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 06:01 PM

I was puzzled at WOMEX. Several of us were, in fact. It seemed that folk music from the UK didn't necessarily count as world music although folk music from Scandinavia did ... and from the Ukraine ... and from almost everywhere. Except the UK. And the US. And contributors to UK samplers for World Music sounded anything but British, so they could have been from anywhere.
I'm still puzzled. It was fun to be there, but puzzling.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Michael S
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 07:04 PM

Take a look at this fascinating article, which claims that a small group of indie label types sat down over brews and created the "world music" label to better market eclectic records. (The link might be a bit slow to load, but it's worth it.)

They intended the phrase to encompass music that, from a retail standpoint, did not have an easy consumer category. If music had a pre-existing and workable consumer identification, it didn't need the world music label, they concluded. Was English trad "world music?" No need--it had the "folk music" box. Was reggae "world music?" No, it could stand alone, people knew what it was. "If you have a box already, it doesn't need to clutter up the world music box," said one participant.

--Michael Scully
--Austin, TX


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Nerd
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 07:26 PM

As Michael's article shows, it was not actually retailers, but small label execs, who came up with the term. But the intention was definitely to create a retail category.


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Michael S
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 07:44 PM

I think the label execs were quite resourceful. While the phrase "world music" might be confusing to a degree, it's been a spectacularly successful approach overall. It's helped people discover much music that might have otherwise escaped notice. And god knows, "folk," "country," and "blues" can be can be confusing terms as well, especially around the margins.

--Michael Scully


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 08:02 PM

Mars is a "world" too. An' dintcha never hear The Martian Hop


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 03:53 AM

There's a story of a very fine Donegal fiddle player who went into a shop in Dublin which catered only for the latest music with the exception of a tiny rack labeled 'world music' which covered everything 'folk and folkish'.
A little peeved to find that his own (magnificent) CD wasn't included he asked the assistant "Have you got anything from anywhere else?"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 04:28 AM

Way back in the merry day, long before the term was appropriated for the marketing of trendy mass-produced CDs of random exotica to the upwardly mobile folksy right-on middle-classes, WORLD MUSIC represented a pragmatic internationalism of creative musical purpose & celebration - as oppose to the voyeuristic pedantry of ethnomusicology per se, though our shelves remain heavy with Ocora and Nonsuch Explorer vinyl to this day. This is why those of a certain persuasion still value the notion of Folk Music / World Music in terms of process & document rather than artefact & product; and why we still continue to celebrate objective human unity in terms of our subjective diversity - and why for those who bought into Heinz-Hype of Paul Simon's execrable Graceland, the music of K-Space wouldn't be of any interest at all.


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 05:18 AM

Only Ian Anderson knows what ' world music is ' as he invented the term.

It seems to include anything except music from GB and anything in the English language.

eric


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Folk Form # 1
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 06:40 AM

It seems to me that World Music is any form of roots music from around the world, including British and Irish folk music. I don't mind people listening to world music. My only objection is that as a folk fan, I am also expected to listen to "other people's cultures" and that I am narrow minded if I don't.



"why we still continue to celebrate objective human unity in terms of our subjective diversity" Insane Beard. Are you a sociology student or something?


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 07:52 AM

Eep Op Ork Ah Ah
Eep Op Ork Ah Ah
Eep Op Ork Ah Ah

Other worldly music provided by the


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 07:53 AM

oops clicked wrong thing

Jetsons


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Vic Smith
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 07:59 AM

Greg Stephens wrote:
All music's world music.I never heard no Martian sing a song.

And here's me think that Greg was a man with a wide-ranging, catholic interest in music.

Come on, Greg, surely you've listened to and enjoyed The Hackney Martians?


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 08:40 AM

Hmmmm go listen again to
Charlie Gillet
First minute or two is his explanation of world music for what its worth.
Its a good little prog he does if you wanna hear something different in Grimsby;-)


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 08:56 AM

If you shop at my local HMV, world music seems to embrace almost anything that's not British or American. For example, French popular music ( Edith Piaf and so on) is included in their world music section.


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Art Thieme
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 11:42 AM

In the early 1960s I was working at the then largest record store in the USA---Rose Records in downtown Chicago. It had a huge INTERNATIONAL MUSIC area in the store--with separate subdivided sections labeled with the names of nations or continents etc. ie Irish, Russia, Caribbean etc. Many folks would go initially to the section marked CHINA. They wanted to become oriented first. ;-)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 11:45 AM

The largest record store in Santiago, Chile has a World Music section. I found a Neil Young CD in it.

Dan


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Art Thieme
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 11:51 AM

Dan, San Tiago is in S. California, just N. of Tiajuana.---Art ;-)


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Michael S
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 11:55 AM

I'm interested in something Insane Beard wrote: "... long before the term was appropriated for the marketing of trendy mass-produced CDs ... WORLD MUSIC represented a pragmatic internationalism of creative musical purpose & celebration ... This is why those of a certain persuasion still value the notion of Folk Music / World Music in terms of process & document ..."

I have never heard the term "world music," except as the marketing rubric it has become in the last couple of decades or so. Beard suggests that it had some sort of prior life as a scholarly or quasi-scholarly concept, somewhat akin to the original academic use of the term "folk music."

I'm ignorant of that, and interested. Can anyone point to examples of or discuss such usage. I'd like to know more. I do, by the way, share Art's memory of record stores with "international" sections.

--Michael Scully


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: GLoux
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 11:58 AM

There's a nice article in Wikipedia on World Music. It attributes credit for coining the phrase to ethnomusicologist Robert E. Brown in the 1960s.


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: pdq
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 11:58 AM

Well, there are a few songs by Neil Young that suggest that "world music" is still too exclusive.


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Michael S
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 12:15 PM

Thanks to GLoux for pointing out that Wikipedia article. It links to an obituary of Dr. Robert Brown (here) that is worthwhile reading.

Michael Scully


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 12:23 PM

I'm the urban spaceman...


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 12:41 PM

I'm not a fan of the term "World Music". I like a lot of the music that is marketed under this title, but I'm finding I'm liking less and less of what I'm hearing and what seems to be available. What interests me is mostly traditional music from other cultures. From what I've seen in the CD store on the rare occasions in recent years when I've had money to spend on CDs, it seems like there is ever more of what I've called "ethno-pop" and "ethno-kitsch" on another thread today.

In Germany, they play quite a bit of "World Music" on the radio and one of the broadcasters (HR 2 in Hessen) seems to put on quite a few concerts in Frankfurt. I'm very grateful for it, but there's more and music that I don't like. I'm as eclectic as the next guy, but a lot of what I'm hearing lately sounds like a bit of a mish-mash. Some of the broadcasts from festivals have been quite disappointing and I've turning more stuff off lately.

It seems like the same thing is happening to so-called "World Music" as happened and is still happening with folk music (definition available upon request).

It's not really a very useful term, anyway, because it refers to so many kinds of music that couldn't be more different.


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 01:07 PM

scholarly or quasi-scholarly concept,

Not quite. The term was current in Free Jazz circles with musicians such as Don Cherry, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Pharoah Sanders (etc.) who drew upon global inspirations to invigorate their essentially creative / improvised / new musics. The term existed in relationship to ethnomusicology with respect of field-recordings rather than the commercially produced easy-listening product we find in World Music bins these days. World Music was a revolutionary musical concept (in line with International Socialism); something Ken Hyder once called music of human interest - which is to say music which is inherently & structurally & eternally & beautifully subversive.

Even this: Don Cherry in Bombay


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Subject: RE: Definition of World Music
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 03:47 PM

Or the Joe Harriott & John Maher Double Quintet's Indo-Jazz Fusions, for that matter. Lovely stuff.

Thank you for the K-Space link, Mr Beard. Wonderful. That's true world music fusion.

My local second hand emporium, Vinyl Exchange, has separate sections for Africa, India, Europe, Asia, South America - although each of these cover a wide territory with a multitude of different musical styles, it feels more manageable than lumping in, say Amjad Ali Khan with Toumani Diabate with a collection of contemporary Arabic pop songs.

My personal preference if I'm trying to describe something to someone is to try to be a bit specific. To me, use of the term 'world music' tells us nothing other than that one of us might own a macrobiotic hat and weave his or her own yoghurt.


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