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The story of this work began many years ago when I received an invitation to present a lecture on the concept of world music. The popularity of my record shop, which specializes in world music I ‘opened in the 90s in Gothenburg, along with my bookings of numerous world music and reggae artists over the years—such as Tinariwen, L'Orchestre National de Barbés, Papa Wemba, Tamikrest, Skatalites, Les Boukakes, etc.—and my contributions to most of the city's cultural and musical events have increased my knowledge and popularity in the field. Consequently, I was chosen because well-positioned at that time to present such a lecture.



My move to Sweden from Paris in the mid-80s, when world music began to gain popularity and was heard everywhere — on the radio, in concerts, and on the streets — was exciting at first. Transitioning to the cold, calm, and quiet city of Gothenburg was a significant change. However, as time passed, I found myself increasingly feeling bored and anguished, despite the beauty of the country, the kindness of the people, and the love I had for my girlfriend, for whom I had moved.

One of the reasons I decided to open a music shop was to recreate the atmosphere I had left behind in Paris and in Algiers, which I missed dearly at the time. What I missed most initially was the human warmth, the sun, the friends, the neighbors, and colleagues I used to spend weekends with at Pompidou square, also known as "Beaubourg," and in the alleys of Saint-Michel in Paris, playing music for pleasure for tourists. Akli – D, an Algerian-Kabyle singer, was one of those friends we would meet with in the evenings at these tourist spots. I also missed the French baguette, couscous, merguez, and all the sounds of everyday life — the sound of the subway, car horns, and the cries of the fruit sellers in the market. They were all part of my daily life.

After a successful attempt to enter the Academy of Arts in Tidaholm, where I was admitted to continue my painting studies and reinforce the successes I had already achieved in my home country of Algeria and also here in Gothenburg with various exhibitions, I unfortunately had to abandon the project due to an uncertain professional future in the artistic field. The birth of my first child also dashed any hopes of moving from Gothenburg to Tidaholm.

I left Paris at a time when France was filled with joy and hope for a better and fairer life with the arrival of the left in the early 1980s. François Mitterrand became the first socialist President of the Fifth Republic, and his government marked the first left-wing government in 23 years

A “March for Equality and Against Racism,” later renamed “Marche des beurs,” was organized in 1983 in Paris, in which I also took part. It was in this context that a new anti-racist association, SOS Racisme, was created in October 1984 to denounce the “ghettoization” of the population, the suburbs, and police violence against immigrants, of which I too was a victim. Undocumented immigrants were hunted down and immediately expelled. The French band Les Boukakes used the name in response to derogatory comments about North African immigrants. "Boukak" is a phonetic amalgamation of two typical racial insults.

On June 15, 1985, at the initiative of SOS Racisme, a mega concert was organized at Place de la Concorde in Paris, in which I took part. It was described as a "multiracial musical festival," with the participation of artists such as Khaled, Nass EL Ghiwane, Kassav, Djurdjura, Malavoi, Steel Pulse, Carte de Séjour, alongside French groups like Indochine. The objective was to fight against racism, anti-semitism, and discrimination and to advocate for "Living together with our differences" in a cohesive society. It's rare for African artists to share the stage with European and particularly French artists at that time of the 60s, 70s and 80s.



The numerous record purchases made from Paris for my friends in Gothenburg, every time I visited my parents and friends, along with the high demand for world music albums in town, encouraged me to create a place where foreigners and Swedish world music lovers could find their happiness. This challenge became a reality a few years after my arrival in Sweden. The store was established in June 1993 and was named World Music Oasis.

Sonodisc, Mélodie Distribution, Buda Records, Lusafrica, CDA for Arabic music, and Blue Silver were among the main labels established in Paris in the 90s, from which I purchased most of my records. My knowledge of the French language, the city of Paris where I lived for several years, and where my parents and friends resided, greatly aided me in my record purchases, especially for shipping.

During the first ten years, I traveled to Paris almost once a month for record purchases. I visited record companies in Paris and returned by Eurolines bus with several heavy parcels of records. I bought Rai music in the Barbès Rochechouart district, African music at Sonima Music close to the subway station Gare de l'Est, and Indian and Pakistani music from Indian merchants in the Réaumur Sébastopol district. Cape Verdean, Angolan, and Zouk music were acquired at the Lusafrica music store, and Turkish music was obtained from small Turkish shops in the Faubourgs Saint Denis district in Paris.

New releases from artists like Salif Keita, Angelique Kidjo, Khaled, Rachid Taha, or Manu Chao were purchased at Virgin Megastore, Fnac, and Gilbert Joseph stores in Saint Michel and Chatelet les Halles in Paris. These artists were licensed to major labels like Universal, BMG, and Virgin. Their albums were expensive to buy, and the companies required a minimum purchase. Consequently, I usually bought only a few CDs which I sold at the same price just to maintain and satisfy my customers.

Vinyl records were purchased at the Clignancourt flea market "Marché aux puces" and various flea markets in the Parisian suburbs. Sterns Music in London, Fonomusic in Spain, and Ebreggae in the US were the other major record companies from which I bought African, Latin, and reggae music.

Direct purchases of CDs from record companies in Paris helped me avoid the sluggishness and monopoly of Swedish distribution and offered me the privilege of having a wide choice of African & Arabic albums that no Swedish distribution record company had at the time, such as albums with Koffi Olomidé, Franco, Nass El Ghiwane, Oum Kalthoum, or Fairouz, for example. Within a couple of years, I managed to acquire a large and diverse range of CDs from most countries in the world.

Gothenburg's main record stores like Bengans, Skivhugget, and CD Specialisten had limited offerings of world music records. They were dependent on Swedish music distribution, while I was independent and could shop and order myself. I quickly built up a reputation as the second most important record store in Scandinavia specializing in world music after MULTI KULTI in Stockholm.


 I established good relationships and gained the trust of most record labels in France, who saw me as an ideal partner for their establishment in Sweden. They needed me to increase their music exports and musical influence in Sweden. The world music market was still new at that time in Sweden. Some companies asked me to become their agent in Sweden, which I declined due to the enormous

I assisted  my friends from Tinariwen in getting their albums distributed by Border Music, a Swedish music distribution company based in Gothenburg, instead of Amigo Bonnier Company, whose sales were very low and slow. Border Music succeeded in selling a large quantity of the album and made a great profit for both parties, which helped the band establish themselves in the country. I was thanked by Andy Morgan, their tour manager, with two invitations to see Tinariwen play support for the Rolling Stones in Dublin.

Over the years, the store has become a mecca for world music customers in Sweden. Besides CDs from around the world, a wide choice of vinyl, musical instruments such as Djembe drums, Derbouka, karkabou, flutes, concert tickets, and information about all music events in town can be found

I was more or less involved in most of the music and cultural events in town and had good collaboration with most of Gothenburg's venues such as Musikens Hus, Storan, Pustervik, Oceanen, Göteborgs Stadsteater, Göteborgs Konserthus, KB West, Nefertiti, and Blå stället for marketing, booking, and advising. Bengans, Skivhugget, and CD Specialisten were the three major record stores in Gothenburg, but they had only a tiny selection of world music records and were dependent on Swedish distributors. Multikulti, the pioneer of world music in Sweden, to whom I owe all my respects, couldn't compete with me either because their store was based in Stockholm, far from me in Gothenburg. In addition to my supremacy in the quantity and quality of music, I deepened my knowledge thanks to customers who came to buy or order albums from their countries. This allowed me to get to know the music and artists from countries such as Panama, Zanzibar, Pakistan, Somalia, Comoros Islands, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Vietnam, and Sierra Leone. Music from these countries was rare and hard to find, as there were no record labels in Europe producing or distributing their albums. The few available albums in the market were traditional music. Customers were looking for popular music, often requested by libraries for their readers. I managed to obtain these artists thanks to my customers who picked some up when they went on holiday to their home countries.

I managed to acquire rare Ethiopian music from a small company called AIT Records. I bought Balkan music from a Bosnian dealer who had a stand in a weekend market, and Arabic pop CDs from EMI in Greece.

Worldmusic Oasis has become the main venue for all world music and reggae artists to promote and sell their albums. Bands like Celtic Connection, Yambu, Quartango, Bosnia Express, Amani, Andra Generationen, Cabaret Oriental, Giddabush, New Tango Orchestra, Räfven, UrbanTurban, Simbi, Cerro Esperanza, Agrin, Piri-Piri, Mayele, Dilawar, Okes Massima, Demboo the Rootsman, Vale Xalino, Lamine Cissoko, Soca Rebels, Emil Pernblad, Amanecer, Treva, Jerry Johansson, Gonzalo J Reyes and his friends from Hip hop Academy, all had their albums in my store, and most of them are still involved in music today.


It was similar for reggae and hip hop artists in Gothenburg, Sweden. Gubb, Ras Kerry, Zionists, Iskariots, Dubadown, Nazarens, G-Mansour, Horace Corn, Axxionpack, Kulturation, Aggravators, King Ital, Junior Eric, Jaquee, Anayah Roots, and Jah Zebi were among the leading figures in the reggae and hip hop scenes. I had a very close collaboration with these artists and carried their albums in my store.




To my knowledge, there wasn't a music store that specialized solely in world music at the time, and there isn't one today either. I was told about a record store in Paris called 5 Continents, which I immediately visited, but it didn't have what I was looking for. The store specialized in traditional world music and didn't carry popular artists such as Koffi Olomide or Angelique Kidjo. The only store that existed was Sterns Music in London, launched in 1983 and still in business today, thanks to the strong resurgence of vinyl.

My store expanded a few years later with sections for pop, rock, soul, and funk vinyl, purely by chance. I purchased two large vinyl collections from a customer who wanted to get rid of them and which I sold a few days later at very low prices because I had no experience or knowledge in pop music and their value. The word spread among collectors, who stormed the store every day. I made many collectors happy with Coltrane and Fela Kuti records they bought for 4 or 5 Euros, while their market value was ten times higher. This loss also helped me to advertise my shop. The great interest in vinyl prompted me to start looking for more records to buy.

This was the period when CDs made their entrance, so people were happily getting rid of their vinyl. I was among the first to have the idea of placing an advertisement in the local newspaper GP to buy records. I received fifty calls a day and bought hundreds of records very cheaply each week. No one understood where and how I acquired all these records. I kept my source secret for a few years before others found out the trick. I continued my purchases of rare vinyl from record fairs in Sweden and flea markets in Paris.

Most of the radio broadcasters and DJs who came to play in the town had to pass by the store to buy, discover new sounds to experiment with, mix, or just to get inspired. Håkan Hällström, Ebbot, Bengt Berger, Ken Day, Dogge (Sweden), Huun Huur Tu (Tuva), Madjid Bekkas, Gueddra (Morocco), Jennifer Ferguson (South Africa), Rubem Dantas (Brazil), MC Yalla (Uganda), Piotr Pucylo (Poland) are among the few artists who visited the store in recent years. Many others have chosen the store to record their YouTube clips, such as the group LITTLE DRAGON.



With the arrival of CDs, many people began bringing bags and boxes of vinyl records to sell. Often, it wasn't about the money but rather the desire to save space at home.

While some individuals donated their records to charity organizations like Emmaus or Saron Church, or sold them at flea markets for just a few crowns, others recognized early on that there was money to be made with vinyl, particularly collectors and DJs.

Most music stores typically use record collector guides to set prices. These guides require a deep understanding to accurately appraise records. There are numerous details and pressings to familiarize oneself with. Only a few individuals possessed the necessary knowledge to properly value records. Many albums have been released multiple times, resulting in various versions. Catalogue numbers, labels, tracks, titles, and condition are all factors that determine value. I remember seeking assistance from the owners of Satisfaction record shop.



When Discogs emerged in 2000, it sparked a revolution. Suddenly, the world seemed smaller, and everyone could find what they had been searching for, sometimes for years. However, the downside was that many people suddenly became record sellers. Private individuals were provided with free platforms on various websites like Tradera, eBay, and later Discogs to sell their albums and make money, often at the expense of established stores struggling to survive amidst all the expenses.

As a result, many individuals began spending their time scouring flea markets and different stores for records, hoping to find bargains they could resell at higher prices on Discogs. Eventually, it seemed that 8 out of 10 customers who entered record stores were not buyers but rather retailers (at least in my experience). It's disheartening to see the same people spending hours in my store, meticulously checking every record on their phones, only to leave empty-handed most of the time. Occasionally, when one of these "vultures" does purchase a record, it's often at a price that convinces me they've scored a bargain.


Over the years, I've encountered hundreds of customers with fascinating stories and diverse backgrounds. From obsessive collectors who seek every pressing of certain artists to those willing to invest substantial sums of money in a single record, the spectrum is vast. Some collectors have paid thousands of kroner for a single record and have since become quite wealthy.

In the early '90s, most customers were men, many of whom would bring their wives or girlfriends along. However, it wasn't long before the women grew bored of waiting around and the men, feeling pressured, would often refrain from purchasing expensive albums in their presence. Instead, they'd set aside their selections and return later alone to make their purchases in peace. It's always amusing to witness the expressions on the women's faces when their partners arrive at the checkout counter alone.



In the 1990s, before the advent of Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Messenger, I was maybe the only person in Sweden who had direct telephone lines to most African artists in France. Koffi Olomide, Papa Wemba, Kanda Bongo Man, Bozi Boziana, Sakis, Touré Kunda, Rachid Taha, Petit Makombo, Hasna El Bacharia, Cheb Sahraoui,  Abdellah, and Ayadou from Tinariwen are just a few of them whom I could call directly.

Running the record store provided me with the opportunity to travel the world, where I discovered new music, encountered emerging artists, and met remarkable individuals. I covered numerous festivals and conducted interviews with many of the world's music greats, which you can find on my website or read about in the Swedish music magazine Lira. I've had the pleasure of meeting esteemed world music artists such as Mikhis Theodorakis, Khaled, Youssou Ndour, Salif Keita, Angelique Kidjo, Jacob Desvarieux, Cesaria Evora, Oliver Mtukudzi, Geoffrey Oryema, Abdullah Ibrahim, Joao Bosco, Marcos Valle, Manu Chao, Toumani Diabate, Cheikh Lô, Papa Wemba, Lokua Kenza, Richard Bona, Mahotella Queens, Toumani Diabate, Oumou sångare, Tinariwen, Rachid Taha, Balla Sidibe, Don Carlos, Lee Perry, Horace Andy, The Skatalites, Buena Vista Social Band, and many others.



Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet Ravi Shankar, Fela Kuti, and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, all of whom passed away early. I also regret not having booked Miriam Makeba, Manu Dibango, Rachid Taha, Jah Shaka, and Mad Sheer Khan, with whom I had started discussions. They too have since passed away.



My biggest regret is certainly not having taken the chance to interview the Algerian Kabyle singer Idir when the opportunity was offered to me in Montpellier during a festival. I had to choose between Idir and the leader of the group Nass El Ghiwane, Omar Sayed, for the interview. I opted for Omar Sayed, thinking that it would be easier to meet Idir later, knowing that he lived in Paris. Unfortunately, I bet on the wrong horse because Idir passed away a few years later after a long illness, without me ever having met him. Omar Sayed, founder of Nass El Ghiwane, was my idol. I grew up with his music. Despite everything, I am delighted to have met and interviewed him.

I approached some of the greatest Middle Eastern stars such as Nedjwa Karem, Assala, Nawal Ezoughbi, Sherrin, and Kassem Essahar, following a demand from the Gothenburg city. However, I didn't manage to book any of these artists. The prices were beyond imagination, and just being able to get in touch with their bookers was a nightmare in itself.

The fee is beyond imagination and just being able to get in touch with their bookers was in itself a nightmare.



My first years in the store were intense, stressful, and demanding due to the numerous orders and daily calls I received. The demand for CD records was very high, and while I wanted to make everyone happy, it was impossible. This situation often stressed me out, to the point where I sometimes had to hide from annoying customers and turn off the phone completely. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my independent profession and looked forward to all the clients and friends who came to visit me; otherwise, I wouldn't have spent 30 years in the business.



During all these years of the store's existence, I encountered hundreds of customers of all colors, nationalities, sexes, and professions, who came daily to shop, buy concert tickets, showcase their records, or simply to spend a moment talking about music. Among the hundreds of people who came to shop, there are some I will never forget. The ones that stand out the most are the prisoners who came with their bodyguard to buy the music of Oum Kalthoum and Fairouz. I felt sorry for them, so I added a few extra CDs to their bags for free.

I also won't forget the visit of a heavily armed police patrol, which rushed into the store and scared me, as I have a fear of the police. Fortunately, these police officers were there for just a few minutes to collect their orders.

I had a few unusual visits as well, including a priest looking for Russian funeral music and imams searching for Quran CDs. I was blessed by both of them because I managed to find what they were looking for when they couldn't find it anywhere else.

Two of the funniest visits I remember involved a pensioner who came with an old broken vinyl and asked if it could be repaired, and an elderly lady who came with a cassette tape whose tape was frayed and asked how much it would cost to get it repaired. Unfortunately, I couldn't repair the vinyl, but I gave the old lady a new tape for free.


However, most of the amusing stories tend to happen outside the store, when I visit people who contact me after I post an ad in the local paper to buy vinyl records. During some of these purchasing visits, someone offered me a real gun, another person offered stolen jewellery, and a woman offered sex since I found nothing interesting among the records they offered me.

One memory that always gives me chills is a visit to another person who called me. After waiting outside his door for more than half an hour and knocking several times without an answer, my friend Kent decided to open the door. As soon as he did, someone inside the apartment saw the door slowly open, screamed, and ran after us with a knife because we dared to enter without permission. We ran as fast as we could and managed to escape. It turned out they were drug addicts arguing inside the apartment. This and many other detailed stories can be found on my blog.



There were some great surprises as well, like the visit of the Stomps leader, who bought a few hundred vinyl records in a couple of minutes and invited me and my wife to his show. Chick Corea and Mulatu Astatke were two other surprises. I offered Chick Corea a CD by the French-Algerian female group Djurdjura, which he heard for the first time and loved. Mulatu Astatke received the album Live with l'O.N.B, which he had been looking for. He particularly enjoyed the song "Alaoui," which he had heard somewhere before but couldn’t find.


Tinariwen used to be guests at my home for couscous or a cup of tea each time they came to play in Gothenburg, and I still maintain friendly contact with them, as well as with the mother of singer Amazigh, who spent a few days with us to visit the city after her son's concert in Gothenburg at Pustervik. I will also never forget my meetings with the South African artist Bayete Jabu Khanyile and the “musical giant” Balla Sidibé from Orchestra Baobab, whom I had hoped to see again a few months later in Dakar but unfortunately passed away before my visit in autumn 2020. Jennifer Ferguson's visit to the store moved me deeply. We talked about Mandela, who was still in prison at the time, and the situation in South Africa. Jennifer Ferguson was a singer-songwriter, political activist, and former member of Parliament for the African National Congress in South Africa.


Thanks to Tinariwen, I met Bill Rahmy, the main producer of the groups REM, QOTSA, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Queens of the Stone Age, with whom I had a great time and who I hope to visit one day. day in Los Angeles. Bill Rahmy is a good friend of Tinariwen, who he opened to record their album Amannar in the Los Angeles desert.



I had the honor to meet Youssou Ndour for the second time in Gothenburg and managed to interview him, just a few days after he was nominated for the Songlines World Pioneer Award 2022. No one had succeeded in getting so close to him at that time.




I remember feeling embarrassed many times when I played Ethiopian music on the speakers for local customers, only to see jeers and grimaces from the pop rock record buyers who stood in the corner, laughing and finding this music horrible. But ten years later, when Buda Records released the Ethiopiques series directed by Francis Falceto and the music of Mulatu Astatke was featured in Jim Jarmusch's film "Broken Flowers," those same customers who had mocked this music were among the first to rush to the store to inquire about Mulatu Astatke, Mahmoud Ahmed, or Girma Beyene albums.

Today, Somali, Sudanese, and Turkish music is fashionable and played in most exclusive European clubs. The music of Huun Huur Tu, Dakha Brakha, and Kayhan Kalhor is also well accepted and part of our daily lives, although this music was banned from record shelves and considered primitive only a few years ago. It's a bit weird, isn't it?

Over time, I learned how customers are influenced by reviewers who choose and decide for them what is good to listen to and what is not.



The decline of the CD market and the ensuing crisis led to the closure of many stores worldwide. I managed to survive thanks to the various side jobs I had as a booker, DJ, lecturer, and assistant nurse. These endeavors somehow saved me from bankruptcy for a while, but Covid-19 didn't spare me either, with the store closing for almost two years. I was stubborn and fought through it.



What hurt and disturbed me the most during these difficult times of the music crisis was a column in a Swedish newspaper, GP, written by a journalist after interviewing me about the future of the store. I explained to the journalist how the CD crisis had affected record sales and mentioned that record sales would continue online instead. However, this didn't mean that I would close the store. Worldmusic Oasis is not only a store; it's a booking agency, an office, and a meeting place for visitors for the various services I offer.

A few days after the interview, an article was published in the newspaper with a large headline: "WORLDMUSIC OASIS GOES UNDER." It surprised and shocked more than one person. Social media picked up on the information, and I had to field hundreds of calls every day to explain the misunderstanding. This was too much for me to handle after all the troubles I had already faced with Covid-19 and the decline of the CD market a few years earlier. The news spread like wildfire, but I worked tirelessly to explain to everyone that I was still there and people could visit me as usual. The difference is just the records will be online on the web; this will allow me to save time and be able to move and other things that I arrange as lectures, meetings, and be close to my bookings.

I survived GP's unwarranted UNDESIRABLE headline thanks to my loyal customers. Covid-19 increased online sales, and interest in vinyl tripled, which helped me get back on track financially.



I would just want to remind that research on world music is a gigantic and complicated field that I have no intention of explaining or developing here. There are enough books, studies, articles written by music experts for those who want to document themselves seriously and in deeply on the subject. This work witch was supposed to be limited about en overview about what world music is for a group of school students led me to further deepen my knowledge on such vas complicated but fascinating subject.

In this work, I delve into the significant events that led to the creation of world music. Supported by numerous interviews, I aim to address questions posed by the originators of the concept and other prominent figures regarding why, how, when, and by whom the concept of world music emerged. I provide insights into defining the world music concept and elucidate why it differed from the perspectives of most music professionals.



With my experience, the help of Google and the numerous books that I had borrowed from the municipal library, I started my work which took me five years of work and never wants to end, because each time I keep coming across new interesting info that I ‘added and removed the others .  The subject was so vast and deep that I was drowning in it. The many different views and interpretations of the concept finally pushed me to get contact with those who coined the term in 1987. This allowed me to understand and shed light on the many questions that served me to write this work which, in addition to a brief presentation of my journey in world music business, a review of the different stages which led to the creation of world music. I´ll explain too when, why, how and buy whom the concept was created and gives answers about the criticisms that emerged after the creation of the term from those who coined it and how other music experts I interviewed explain the reasons why they dislike the term.

Robert Browning from the World Music Institute told me in an interview: I agree that it is a hackneyed term and people everywhere interpret it differently. But, as I say, in this imperfect world of ours we are always grasping for words to describe what we do and I guess this is the best we can come up with.



My quest to uncover the history and definition of world music for my lecture began with the search for those who coined the term. In an issue of the Folk Roots music magazine from 1988, I discovered the list of individuals who were present at the inaugural meeting on July 27, 1987. There were 29 participants in total, and it was during this first gathering that the term "world music" was chosen


Having obtained the list, the challenge that arose was how to contact these persons, many of whom now held prominent positions. This proved to be no easy task, especially since none of them were familiar with me. Nonetheless, this endeavor consumed several years of my time, involving cancelled appointments, long waits, and numerous trips to London, Bristol, and Paris. Eventually, I managed to establish contact with and interview a few of the key figures who were present at the 1987 meeting where the term "world music" was coined in London.



Thanks to Andy Morgan, whom I had known during his tenure as tour manager for the Tinariwen band, I was able to connect with Ben Mandelson, one of the two initiators of the meeting. We met in a pub near the train station in London and engaged in a lengthy discussion. Subsequently, I conducted interviews with Ian Scott, Mark Kidal, Thomas Brooman, Joe Boyd, Steve Haddrell, Roger Armstrong, Ian Anderson, Mary Farquharson, Nick Gold, Robert Urbanus, Lucy Duran, and Donald Vanrenen. All of these persons had been present at the three meetings held at the Empress of Russia pub in London. Over time, most of them responded positively to my requests for interviews, with the exception of Amanda Jones, Philip Sweeney, Jonathan Rudnick (Crammed US/freelance), Trevor Herman from Earthworks, Doug Veitch from Disc ‘Afrique, Chris Hawkins from Africa Beat magazine, and Nick Carnac from Carnac-disques.

Unfortunately, I was unable to establish contact with Scott Lund (Sterns/Triple Earth), Chris Stapleton (Blues & Soul), Chris Popham, Anne Hunt, and Charlie Gillett (Oval), who was part of the group during the meetings but passed away on March 17, 2010.


To add more weight and credibility to my lecture, I also managed to interview other renowned artists, journalists, radio broadcasters, promoters, and festival organizers such as Gilbert Mousset (Festival Métisses), Thomas Brooman (WOMAD), Youssou Ndour (Artist), Lucy Duran (British ethnomusicologist and record producer - BBC Radio 1), Nick Gold (World Circuit label), Angel Romero (World Music Central), Joe Boyd (Hannibal Records), Martin Meissonnier (promoter and journalist), as well as many other influential figures involved in the production, promotion, and expansion of world music. In total, I interviewed more than seventy recognized persons in the music industry.



The term "world music," or rather its German equivalent, Weltmusik, has been in circulation for nearly a century. It was initially coined by the German musicologist Georg Capellen in 1906 to describe the international influences found in the music of composers such as Debussy and Stravinsky, particularly the non-Western music of Indonesia, the Near East, and other regions.

In more recent times, the term has been employed by various groups, including the German scholar, promoter, producer, and jazz critic Joachim-Ernst Berendt, who began using the term "Weltmusik" around 1963 to characterize a movement in jazz that incorporated music from outside America. In 1965, he organized the first "world music" festival, featuring musicians from India, Java, Japan, Africa, and Brazil performing their music within a jazz context.

The ethnomusicologist Robert Brown is credited with being among the first to use the term "world music" in America in the early 1960s. Alongside David McAllester, Robert Brown established the World Music program at Wesleyan University in 1965.


From the 1970s onward, other persons, labels, programs, and institutions began to emerge in Europe, particularly in France, England, the United States, and elsewhere, using the term "world music." This included the Center for World Music in San Francisco (established in the early 1970s), Kent State University's Center for the Study of World Musics (founded in 1980), and the World Music Institute (established in 1985), among others. This period also saw a proliferation of "world music."

Ken Day, a Swedish promoter, and Christer Bothén, a ngoni and gumbri artist, have both informed me that the term "World Music" was also used by Don Cherry in the late 1970s.

Ken Day: I ‘was working at the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, New York from 1977-80. It was Don who got me a job there. We started a concert series at the Tinker Art Gallery called "World Music" around 1978, where we presented musicians from India, Africa, US, Latin America Jazz and traditional and classical musicians... sometimes playing together and creating something new... sometimes just on their own.” Ken Day has been also using the term as a name for his booking agency.

Christer Bothén says: I played a lot with Don for several years and became his teacher in playing Don's ngoni. In return he introduced me to his and Ornette Coleman's musical world and their ways to improvise. It was also in connection with Don when the word world music was used. We toured Italy and sits after the concert with a lot of European and non-European instruments behind us. Some music journalists asked us what kind of music we played. Does it have a name? A slightly confused Don Cherry replies: No, it is just music, it is the music of the world, it is world music

The Algerian producer Mohand Anemiche, owner of the record companies "Disco Music" and "Numidie Production" in Barbès (France), began using the term "world music" for his label in 1971.

A festival in Rålambshovsparken (Sweden) in 1979 was named World Music Festival and in 1982 Scania Tågarp in Sweden issued the first and only issue of the magazine World Music.



Music has existed in the world for over a thousand years. It is found in every known culture, past and present, varying widely between times and places. All peoples of the world, including the most isolated tribal groups, have a form of music. Music has always been present, but it was waiting to be shared with people. In 1987, the term "World Music" opened the doors to the music of the world to one another, bringing people closer and making communication more effective worldwide.


The cultures of the “Green Sahara” left behind a vast gallery of iconographic documents in the form of rock paintings, among which are some of the earliest internal sources on African music. One is a vivid dance scene discovered in 1956 by the French ethnologist Henri Lhote in the Tassili-n-Ajjer plateau of Algeria. Attributed on stylistic grounds to the Saharan period of the Neolithic hunters (c. 6000–4000 bc), this painting is probably one of the oldest extant testimonies to music and dance in Africa. The body adornment and movement style are reminiscent of dance styles still found in many African societies.

An authentic Bianzhong was excavated in China's Hubei Province in 1978 and exhibited in the Hubei Provincial Museum. The complexity and exquisiteness of the instrument stunned the world upon its discovery, as it was difficult to believe that it dated back over 2,000 years.



To understand the reasons for the emergence of world music in 1987 and the various stages that led to its inception, we must journey back several centuries. It's important and intriguing to recall the arduous and extensive trajectory of African music over the decades. Without African music, the concept of world music would likely not exist.

Between the mid-15th century and the late 19th century, over 12.5 million captives were forcibly transported from Africa to the Americas and the Atlantic islands. Tragically, more than 1.5 million perished during the treacherous transatlantic voyage.

Approximately 1.4 million of these enslaved individuals were brought to Cuba to toil in the plantations. Their presence exerted a profound influence on Cuban music, infusing it with the rich tapestry of percussion, rhythms, songs, and dances brought by these African slaves.

These slaves brought with them not only their physical labor but also their cultural heritage, including songs from their respective African cultures and knowledge of musical instruments. Instruments such as African drums, gourd rattles, and the banjo, crafted by African Americans in the New World, remain among the most recognizable instruments today.

Later, these African melodies, which had traversed continents centuries ago and fused with overseas musical traditions, made their way back to Africa in the 1940s through GV Records. Mixing with local musical styles, they gave rise to new genres such as rumba in the Congo and salsa in Senegal. Three notable precursors of these styles were Paulo Kamba (Congo Brazzaville), Jimmy Zakari (Central African Republic), and Wendo Kolosoy (Congo Kinshasa). Subsequently, artists like Franco, Grand Kalle, and others modernized and popularized rumba music.

This historical trajectory underscores why Africa has consistently been a wellspring of inspiration, production, and talent for some of the greatest musicians in the world music landscape. Artists such as Prince Nico, Joseph Kabasele, Fela Kuti, Franco, Tabu Ley Rochereau, Miriam Makeba, Youssou Ndour, Salif Keita, Manu Dibango, Abdullah Ibrahim, Hugh Masekela, Aster Aweke, Cesaria Evora, Mulatu Astatke, and many more stand as pillars of world music today.

In contemporary Western popular music, the influence of African music is immeasurable. Genres like R&B, Jazz, Hip Hop, Rock and Roll, Blues, among others, all bear traces of their roots in African music, showcasing the profound impact of African musical traditions on global cultural expression.


JAMES MOONEY - The first ever field recordings - March 15, 1890

Many expeditions and recordings were conducted in the early 1900s in Africa and the Caribbean by French, English, and American musicologists. Among the earliest known recordings was made by James Mooney in 1894, documenting various Native American ghost dances.



India's first disc had Gauhar Jaan recorded on 2 november 1902, by Fred Gaisberg, an assistant to Emile Berliner, the father of Gramophone record, who left America to become the first recording engineer with the Gramophone Company, London. 



Laura Crayton Boulton, Noël Ballif, Alan Lomax, Henri Lhote, Gilbert Rouget, Pierre Gaisseau, David Lewiston, Paul Bowles, They recorded the shamanic chants of the Siberian rim; the dying folk music of isolated European villagers; the ecstatic gamelon sounds of Bali; the trance drumming of Africa the haunting sounds of the Tuareg Imzad, and the captivating karkabou of the Gnawa people.They lugged their ponderous gear into the High Andes and to remote Pacific islands.  They did more than bring back sound. They brought back adventure; they broadened the idea of what music meant and what culture could produce, they undertook more than mere documentation; they embarked on adventures that expanded the very notion of music and broadened our understanding of cultural production.



If we go back to the 1950s and even before, it is clear that African music was almost unknown to Western audiences, and even less so was the music of South America with its tango and mambo, or that of the Caribbean with its calypso, and India with its raga. The Western circuits, particularly the French, were mainly interested in ballet performances. Colonial exoticism rather exhibited a few black artists as curiosities, as we see with the acrobats in the circus. Keïta Fodeba was one of those curiosities that the European public came to admire, enjoying the sounds of the drums and acrobatics




Back in the 60s when labels like Nonesuch, Chant Du Monde etc…, were releasing what was proto–World Music; it was mainly field recordings from ethnomusicologists and so by definition was less obviously influenced by wider cultures. At the time these labels would have had no interest in releasing, say a Franco or Dr Nico record - that was pop for the local population. But the revival that became World Music in the 80s was more interested in pop and embraced music with outside influences and modern sounds, said to me Roger Armstrong i an interview.



The 1950s and pre-Beatles 1960s were the golden years for Congolese musicians, marked by the emergence of famous groups like l'African Jazz, OK Jazz, Negro-Band, Novelty, Congo Jazz, Rock-A-Mambo, Les Bantous, Beguen Band, L'African Fiesta, Sinza, and many more. All were influenced by Cuban rhythms.

Joseph Kabasele was the very first to found and popularize Afro-Cuban rumba in 1951 by introducing Western musical instruments and folk music into his modern African jazz band.

The 1950s and 1960s also saw the birth of highlife, Afrobeat, juju music, makossa, and many other music styles.

In 1956, Miriam Makeba wrote her greatest hit, the song "Pata Pata," with which she toured the world.


The 1950s and pre-Beatles 1960s were also the golden years for Latin musicians. The "Mambo Kings" had the country dancing to the music of Tito Puente, Pérez Prado, and Xavier Cugat. Desi Arnaz was singing "Babalu" on TV, and tourists swarmed Havana to enjoy the warm Caribbean breezes and hotter nightclubs.


Caribbean music has been profoundly influenced by the transatlantic slave trade and later, by the resistance and emancipation of slaves, as well as various African, European, and Indigenous Latin American influences. The fusion with local music gave rise to numerous genres, including bachata, merengue, palo, mambo, baithak gana, bouyon, cadence, calypso, cumbia, chutney-soca, compas, dancehall, jing ping, parang, pichakaree, punta, ragga, son, reggae, tumba, dembow, salsa, soca, and zouk, among others such as merengue, bachata, cadence, kompas, ska, Kadans, and benna.

Lord Shorty was to Soca and calypso music what James Brown was to funk, DJ Kool Herc was to hip-hop, and Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto were to Brazil’s bossa nova. Mighty Sparrow, Belafonte, Lord Kitchener, Byron Lee, The Mighty Gabby, Lord Shorty, Arrow, and Calypso Rose are just a few among the long list of famous Caribbean artists."



Indian music is renowned for its different genres as well as its contributions to cinematographic productions. Indian music became internationally known mainly thanks to Ravi Shankar and other artists such as Ustad Vilayat Khan, Ali Akbar Khan, Ustad Imrat Khan, Bismillah Khan, Ustad Amir Khan, Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Madurai Shanmukhavadivu, Bhimsen Joshi, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Parveen Sultana, Alla Rakha, and many more.



In Europe, the popularity of pop and rock attracted the attention of music lovers worldwide. Yet, there were also notable artists who brought prestige to each European country and filled theaters. Amália Rodrigues in Portugal, Manitas de Plata and Paco de Lucía in Spain, Mikis Theodorakis and Maria Farantouri in Greece, The Dubliners and The Chieftains in Ireland, and Édith Piaf in France are among them. However, these artists often appealed to an older audience compared to pop, rock, or soul artists, whose appeal cut across all age categories.



The influence of Western music on world culture is largely credited to bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, known for their collaborations with artists like Ravi Shankar in India and the masters of Joujouka in Morocco. Other Western bands such as The Yardbirds, The Doors, and The Byrds were also notably influenced by Indian classical music, incorporating it to enhance psychedelia in their music. This trend continued into the late sixties with British progressive rock bands like Quintessence, Jeff Beck, Donovan, The Moody Blues, Them, The Pretty Things, Traffic, Jenny Boyd, Mia Farrow, Mike Love, and more. Even earlier, groups like the Incredible String Band skillfully integrated Gnawa elements, helping pave the way for what would later be termed "world music."

This approach by Western musicians in the 60s and 70s subsequently influenced artists worldwide, leading to the creation of numerous new music styles and genres. Examples include Beatlemania in the Balkan countries, Anatolian rock, Turkish psychedelic rock, Sharki in Arab countries, Azerbaijani rock, Shadow Music, Zam-Rock, modernized Thai music, Thai sound, Luk thung, Afro Psych, Cantopop, and Group Sound in Japan, among others.

The influence of Western music has also played a significant role in the creation of major festivals worldwide. Examples include Piedra Roja in Chile, festival de Ancon in Colombia, Havelock Park in Colombo, Sri Lanka and the Rock y Ruedas de Avandaro festival in Mexico (also known simply as Avandaro), which was a historic event organized on September 11 and 12, 1971. Additionally, one of the most notable Woodstock-inspired concerts was the Camp Semangat held in July 1972. Organized by members of some of the performing groups and the Boy Scouts of Malaysia (Persatuan Pengakap) at Kem Semangat, Cheras, it stands as a testament to the global impact of Western musical culture.


I mentioned all these festivals to point out how great the influence of western music was on the rest of the other cultures in the rest of the world. These festivals attracted huge crowds, filled arenas and brought out renowned artists during the 1970s and 1980s. No European or Americain producer has had the curiosity to be interested in what is happening outside its borders. Apart from the entomologists who continued to produce traditional music intended more for schools, museums and  libraries.The West and the US were caught up in the euphoria of the success of the Beatles, the Stones, Hendrix, James Brown, and other pop, rock, and jazz artists.

Here are some artists and groups who made the heyday of thousands of fans and whose albums have today become a rarity and cost fortunes.



In India and Sri Lanka, The Mustangs, the Combustibles, the Savages, Fentones, Susmit Bose were among few of the popular psychedelic groups at the time.


Rock music in Sri Lanka dates back to the early 1970s when Kumar Navaratnam and his friends staged the first Rock Festival at Havelock Park in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Kumar Navaratnam could be hailed as the main driving force behind the evolving rock music scene, alongside other artists and bands such as Prins Jayaratnam and the Unwanted Generation, Prasanna Abeysekara, Coffin Nail, Neville of Acid, Gobbledegook, and Sweetie Pie.



In the Arab countries and the Middle East, bands such as Les Abranis, Les Djinns, Freedoms, and Djamal Allem emerged in Algeria. In Tunisia, notable bands include Les 4 Dés and Carthago. Morocco saw the rise of Goldan Hands, Fadoul, Attarazat Addahabia, and Faradjallah. In Iran, artists like Googoosh and Behrouz Vosoughi gained prominence, while Zahir was notable in Afghanistan. Lebanon witnessed the emergence of The Sea-Ders. Additionally, Al-Bara’em (The Blooms) gained attention in Palestine, and Hany Mehanna and Al Massrieen in Egypt.

Hassan Megri from Morocco founded and created the "Mégri Musical Movement," which contributed to the emergence of "Arab World Music" in the 1970s.



Anatolian rock, often referred to as Turkish psychedelic rock, is a fusion of Turkish folk music and Western rock. From 1966 to 1975, psychedelic rock gained significant popularity in Turkey, largely due to the influence of guitarist Erkin Koray. Other influential musicians and groups who contributed to the popularity of this style include Cem Karaca and Moğollar, whose albums "Safinaz" and "Düm-tek" pushed Anatolian rock towards a more progressive direction.

Barış Manço, Selda Bağcan, and Fikret Kızılok, along with bands like Kurtalan Ekspres and 3 Hürel, were among the most popular artists and psychedelic rock bands in Turkey during this period.



In Japan, the influx of beat music, particularly following the Beatles' tour in 1966, ushered in a new and intriguing musical experience. "Group Sounds" (GS), a genre that emerged in the mid-1960s, was born from a fusion of kayōkyoku music (the foundation of modern J-pop) and Western rock. This genre gave rise to bands such as Happy End, the Spiders, the Tigers, the Mops, the Tempters, and the Golden Cups, among others. Additionally, psychedelic bands like Kikagaku Moyo, Dylan II, Masato Minami, and Itsutsu No Akai Fuusen also made notable contributions to the Japanese music scene during this period.



Countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia have rich folk music histories, but the influx of music from Europe, Latin America, and the United States helped inspire and create new forms of composition.

This musical evolution was particularly fuelled by the presence of the U.S. army, which brought psychedelic, rock, soul, and funk music overseas through guitars, records, and radio stations broadcast from military bases.

We can see this influence in the fusion of Luk Thung and Funk in Thailand, the blending of folklore with rock'n'roll and psychedelia in Cambodia, the vibrant beat music scene in Singapore in the late 60s and early 70s, and Indonesia's emergence as a treasure trove of hard rock and progressive rock gems in the 70s.

Artists like Ros Sereysothea, Pan Ron, Sin Sisamouth, and Drakkar Band from Cambodia, Phạm Duy, known as the "Bob Dylan of Vietnam," The Rollies from Indonesia, the Blackbusters from the Philippines, Mai Le Huyen, the Vietnamese "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll," and Chaweewan Dumnern, the Thai empress of molam (country-psych), combined traditional elements with psychedelic characteristics such as surreal lyrics, modal melodies, and infused their local music with pop, jazz, and groovy disco. Some drew inspiration from Santana's style, while others leaned more towards the soul and funk of the Funkadelics.

The sixties were arguably the golden era for local bands. In 1961, British singer Cliff Richard and his rock group The Shadows performed at the "Happy World Stadium" alongside a local band called The Stompers. This performance proved to be a defining moment, inspiring and motivating many young music lovers to form Singapore’s own home-grown bands.

In Singapore, the local music scene flourished with bands like The Crescendos, The Quests, The Trailers, and The Thunderbirds making their debuts between 1962 and 1964, producing several chart-topping hits and record-breaking singles.



In the early 1960s, a new music style called Beatlemania emerged in the Balkan countries. Many bands drew initial inspiration from popular groups like Cliff Richard and the Shadows, resulting in the formation of bands such as Uragani, Bijele Strijele, Siluete, Crveni Koralji, Zlatni Dečaci, Samonikli, and Crni Biseri, among others.

By the mid-1960s, additional bands like Džentlmeni, Roboti, and Siluete were influenced by rhythm and blues artists, while others leaned more towards pop music. Mod-oriented bands also began to emerge. Notable groups such as Indexi, Korni Grupa, Grupa 220, and Ambasadori became some of the most prominent and influential bands from the former Yugoslavia.


By the mid-1960s, additional bands like Džentlmeni, Roboti, and Siluete were influenced by rhythm and blues artists, while others leaned more towards pop music. Mod-oriented bands also began to emerge. Notable groups such as Indexi, Korni Grupa, Grupa 220, and Ambasadori became some of the most prominent and influential bands from the former Yugoslavia.



African musicians and bands such as Ofo and the Black Company, the Hykkers, Ebo Taylor, BLO, Lijadu Sisters, Amanaz, and Zamrock from Zambia, The Funkees with "Slipping Into Darkness" (1973), The Hygrades with "In the Jungle" (1972), and Wrinkar Experience with "Ballad of a Sad Young" were all influenced by artists like Jimi Hendrix, Santana, and James Brown, particularly in terms of guitar sounds.



The first traces of psychedelic rock in Latin America date back to the late 1960s. A wave of Mexican rock heavily influenced by psychedelic and funk emerged in the northern Mexican states, particularly in Tijuana, Baja California. Among the most recognized bands from the 'Chicano Wave' were Three Souls in my Mind, Love Army, El Ritual, and Los Dug Dug's. The music continued to spread with the consumption of illicit records from American and British bands. Local musicians were fascinated by the rock sounds and began creating their own groups, incorporating their musical traditions such as tango, cumbia, and Andean folklore.



Psychedelic rock and blues made their way to Chile in the 1970s. From these influences emerged groups such as Aguaturbia, Los Blops, Los Jaivas, El Congreso, Congregación, Escombros, and Sacros.



In the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires, a burgeoning psychedelic scene gave rise to three of the most significant bands in Argentina’s rock history: Los Gatos, Manal, and Almendra, along with Arco Aris.

Across the entire South American continent, numerous psychedelic and rock bands emerged, including Los Saicos in Peru, Os Mutantes in Brazil, Fuzzkrank in Paraguay, Las Cobras in Uruguay, Las Robertas in Costa Rica, Los Ácidos in Argentina, Matus in Peru, Necro Hail and Augusto Martins Côrtes in Brazil, and Red Sun Cult in Colombia. Additionally, festivals such as Piedra Roja in Chile and the Festival Rock y Ruedas de Avándaro in Mexico were created during this period.



The 1960s witnessed the emergence of the VIA (Vocal & Instrumental Ensemble) movement. VIAs were state-produced bands comprised of professional musicians. They blended traditional songs with elements of rock, disco, and new wave, often followed by Bard music.

Among the most notable VIA bands and vocalists were Pesniary, a folk band from Belarus; Zemlyane; Poyushchiye Gitary; Yuri Antonov with Arax; and Stas Namin with Tsvety.

1960-70s: Bard music. the most popular were Bulat Okudzhava, Vladimir Vysotsky, Yuri Vizbor, Sergey and Tatyana Nikitin

Rock music arrived in the Soviet Union in the late 1960s, coinciding with Beatlemania. Many rock bands emerged in the late 1970s, such as Mashina Vremeni, Aquarium, and Autograph. During Perestroika, Russian rock became mainstream, with popular bands like Kino, Alisa, Aria, DDT, Nautilus Pompilius, Grazhdanskaya Oborona, and Gorky Park, as well as 10,000 Russos, Black Bombain, Asmov and Cosmic Mass, and Sokol



In the 1960s and 1970s, as most African countries gained independence, the rising pan-African ideology aimed to consolidate aspirations of African unity. One fundamental goal was to reclaim their musical heritage by subsidizing and supporting national and regional orchestras and creating festivals to showcase the rich cultural and musical potential of the continent. Key festivals such as Rumble in the Jungle, FESMAN, FESTAC 77, and Festival Panafricain Algiers played pivotal roles in nurturing a pan-African identity.

During this era, musical styles such as highlife, afrobeat, and juju music flourished and expanded in Nigeria and Ghana, while rumba thrived in Franco's Congo, and salsa in Senegal. Other styles like mandinge emerged in Mali, and Ziguiboulo and Makossa in Cameroon.

Notable musical groups from Senegal included Le Star Band de Dakar, L’Orchestre Baobab, and L’Etoile de Dakar; from Mali, L’Orchestre régional de Mopti, L’Orchestre régional de Kayes, Le Tijwara band de Kati, Le Mystère jazz de Tombouctou, Le Kanaga de Mopti, and Le Kéné star de Sikasso; from Guinea, Bembeya Jazz National; from Benin, L’Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou. In central Africa, Grand Kalle, L’African Jazz, Tabu Ley’s African Fiesta, L’Orchestra TPOK, and L’Orchestre Veve (Congo), Massako from Gabon, and Super Mazembe (Tanzania) were among the influential musical groups of that time.


One of the most memorable songs of the 1960s was Kabasele's "Indépendance Cha Cha" from 1960, celebrating Congo's independence from Belgian colonial rule. The song became a continent-wide hit, symbolizing the independence of several other countries.


The 1960s also witnessed collaboration between Cuba and the newly independent African countries. Cuba invited Malian students to study music, leading to the formation of the famous band Les Maravillas de Mali in 1965, led by the Malian musician Boncana Maiga.


The 1960s and 1970s are often referred to as Nairobi’s glittering epoch. The city became the ultimate recording epicenter. Individual musicians and bands from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Tanzania would arrive in Nairobi principally to record, but would also seize the opportunity to perform at a host of vibrant venues and clubs. The presence of South African cabaret band Lo Six, Zambian band Mosi O Tunya, Tanzanian band Jamhuri Jazz, and Congolese bands such as Orchestre Baba National and Les Mangelepa all left an indelible mark on Kenyan musical traditions that stretched beyond music.

In 1969, Fela Kuti toured the United States and became inspired by the political activism of African Americans. He studied the life of Malcolm X and was inspired by his pro-Black speeches.

Miriam Makeba became the first African woman to win an American Grammy for the album 'An Evening with Belafonte', released by RCA Victor in 1966. She was the first artist from Africa to popularize African music around the world. She is most known for the song 'Pata Pata', first recorded in 1957 and released in the U.S. in 1967.


In the 1960s and 1970s, notable journeys by iconic bands left indelible marks on the global music landscape. The Rolling Stones embarked on a transformative trip to Morocco, culminating in the recording "Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka." This album is often regarded as one of the earliest examples of what later became known as "world music" to gain recognition in the pop mainstream. Similarly, the Beatles' influential pilgrimage to India yielded significant artistic results. Their time spent in India resulted in the album "Collaborations" between George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, showcasing the fusion of Eastern and Western musical influences. These historic voyages not only expanded the musical horizons of the bands involved but also left lasting impressions on the global music scene.

The 60s and 70s were the Rolling Stones trip to Morocco resulting on a recording ” Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka”, and perhaps the first album of what came to be known as “world music” to enter the pop mainstream. Another historic trip was made by the Beatles to India resulting with the album”Collaborations” between Georges Harrison & Ravi Shankar.


The 1960s saw the emergence of significant events like the World Festival of Black Arts in Dakar, Senegal, in 1966, the FESTAC festival in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1977, and the Pan-African festival in Algiers in 1969. These events served as bastions for the emergence of many world music artists who continue to influence the genre today.


Indeed, the 60s and 70s marked a period of significant musical movements around the world. In Brazil, the Tropicalia movement emerged, blending elements of traditional Brazilian music with avant-garde influences, creating a rich and innovative sound. Meanwhile, in New York, salsa music was born, fusing Afro-Cuban rhythms with elements of jazz, resulting in a vibrant and dynamic genre that quickly gained popularity. In Jamaica, reggae music emerged, with its distinctive rhythms, social commentary, and spiritual themes, making a profound impact both locally and internationally.


During the 1960s and 1970s, notable memorial concerts were held, including those featuring James Brown in Abidjan, Oum Kalthoum in Paris, and Fairouz in London.


The Harlem Cultural Festival was a series of events, mainly music concerts, held annually in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, between 1967 and 1969 which celebrated African American music and culture.

Mickey Hart, Robert Plant, Don Cherry, Ry Cooder, were among the first great artists to contributed each one in his own way to discover, experiment, produce and promote African, Latin and Caribbean music through collaboration with artists from countries of other continents. Paul Simon, David Byrne, and Ry Cooder played a vital role a few years later in helping to expand the world music market.





Arab countries were renowned for their rich musical and cinematographic productions, particularly in Egypt, featuring iconic artists such as Oum Kalthoum, Farid El Atrache, Abdelhalim Hafez, Mohamed Abdelwahab, Fairouz and the Rahbani brothers, Leila Mourad, Wadih Al Safi, and Sabbah Fakhri.



During the 1970s, there was a notable increase in the release of world music LPs, with labels such as Nonesuch Explorer, Argo, and Tangent leading the way. Much of this material reflected the interests of the post-hippie generation, as it often originated from countries along the overland "hippie trail." This trail spanned from North Africa, the Balkans, and Turkey, through Iran and Afghanistan, to India, Nepal, and Tibet. The music frequently had classical, religious, or mystical contexts, reflecting the growing fascination with Eastern religions during this era. Some of this music even found its way onto BBC Radio 3.

John Peel played a pivotal role in introducing his listeners to various kinds of world music from the early days of his broadcasting career in the UK. In 1967, Indian classical music gained popularity due to George Harrison's use of the sitar on some Beatles tracks. In response, Peel occasionally featured tracks by Ravi Shankar on his Perfumed Garden show on Radio London. Later, while hosting Top Gear on BBC Radio 1, Peel showcased sessions by Indian classical musicians Vilayat Khan and Imrat Khan, despite the fact that their music diverged significantly from the station's usual fare.



According to Berendt, 1961 marked the inception of the "world music" movement within jazz, spurred by the release of several groundbreaking albums by John Coltrane. These albums, including "Africa/Brass," "Impressions" (notably the track "India"), and "Ole Coltrane" (featuring "Aisha"), paid tribute to African, Indian, and Arabic musical traditions. Additionally, Randy Weston's "Blue Moses," Herbie Mann's exploration of Gagaku and beyond, McCoy Tyner's "African Village," "Message from the Nile," and "Asante," as well as Art Blakey's "The African Beat" (1962) and "High Life" (1963), further contributed to this movement.

Various other jazz artists also played pivotal roles in advancing of cross-cultural musical exploration, including Tony Scott, Paul Horn, Paul Winter, John McLaughlin, Collin Walcott, and Don Cherry. Notably, Don Cherry was instrumental in consistently applying this pan-cultural philosophy in his work, often referring to himself as a "world musician." Cherry notably became the first American jazz artist to regularly collaborate with non-jazz musicians from diverse continents, cementing his legacy within the world music movement.

THE 70´s - 80´s

The American Black Power movement sparked widespread interest in African music around the globe. In London, numerous groups emerged, with Osibisa being the most successful. Other notable acts included Gaspar Lawal, Oseni, Bongos & the Groovies, the Steve Rhodes Singers, and Fela Kuti, among others. Osibisa gained popularity in the 1970s through their albums and dynamic live performances, having done three Peel sessions between 1970 and 1972.

Orquesta Aragón, a significant influence on Afro-Cuban groups in Africa, embarked on tours across the continent starting in 1971, performing in Tanzania, Zanzibar, Congo-Brazzaville, Guinea, Mali, and Algeria over eight years.

In 1974, the association of Malian workers brought Mory Kanté to Paris for a concert, marking his first appearance in the city. Zairian musician Franco Luambo performed a sold-out concert at Bataclan in Paris in 1978.

In 1979, Amadou Balaké and Gambian singer Laba Sosseh traveled to New York, where they recorded two albums: "A New York" and "Afro-Charanga."

Moroccan progressive bands Nass El Ghiwane and Jil Jilala made significant strides, performing to a packed audience at the prestigious Olympia arena in Paris in 1979.


In the 70s and 80s, local productions were flourishing both in Africa and around the world. Across Africa, labels such as Syliphone, Socadisc, Ngoma, Afrodisia, Jambo Records, Gallo Records, East African Records, Syllard, Amha Records, and Essiebons produced hundreds of albums. However, only a handful of these records made their way abroad, primarily to France or England. Even then, they often ended up stored in cramped shelves within African workers' studios or found in African stores alongside textiles, perfumes, and spices purchased by the African community.

Stores like Camara Productions, Kalitex, Lamp Fall Productions, and Diego Music, situated in districts such as La Chapelle, La Goutte-d'Or, Barbès Rochechouart, and Strasbourg Saint Denis in Paris, were among the places where this music could be found. Despite the vibrant production scene, Western record companies showed little interest in importing, distributing, or producing these artists, leading to a limited exposure of African music on the international stage.



Before zouk exploded onto the scene, in the early 1970s, dancehall music powered by artists like Admiral T, KRYS, and Saïk gained popularity. Long before Trap music overshadowed local sounds, several groups such as La Perfecta, Les Aiglons, Les Vikings, Super Combo, Kassav, Akiyo, Experience 7, Zouk Machine, and Malavoi got people of all generations dancing.

Henri Debs, a musician, producer, and record dealer, established the label Henri Debs Production in 1972 in Guadeloupe, specializing in Caribbean music from Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Guyana. The label also distributed music from Africa and the Indian Ocean. Over his 50 years of professional activity, Henri Debs recorded more than 6000 titles and wrote nearly 250 songs. He unearthed rare gems and launched new talents like Les Aiglons, Les Vikings, Malavoi, Francky Vincent, and Zouk Machine, among others.



Four Swedish bands, ISKRA, Archimedes Badkar, Arbete & Fritid, and Bitter Funeral Beer Band, came together under a music collective they named Ett Minne för Livet (A Memory for Life) to celebrate Vietnam's liberation in 1975. They organized several concerts and ambitious teaching projects on world music, resulting in four LP albums released under the label Ett Minne för Livet



Celtic music experienced a period of transformation, particularly in Ireland and Scotland. Additionally, other Celtic regions and countries in Europe, such as Wales, Brittany (France), Galicia (Spain), and Asturias (Spain), saw a vibrant revival of traditional music, sometimes influenced by Irish-style arrangements.

In Spain, Flamenco underwent fascinating transformations, spearheaded by Paco de Lucía, who revolutionized the genre by using the guitar as a lead solo instrument and incorporated jazz elements into his music as well his introduced the cajón, a percussion instrument from Peru, to Spain through his percussionist Rubem Dantas (Brazil)..



Zaire 74 was a three-day live music festival that took place from September 22nd to 24th, 1974, at the 20th of May Stadium in Kinshasa. Produced by trumpeter Hugh Masekela and producer Stewart Levine, the festival featured megastars such as James Brown, Bill Withers, B.B. King, the Spinners, Miriam Makeba, TPOK Jazz, Tabu Ley Rochereau, Celia Cruz, Fania All-Stars, Hector Lavoe, and seventeen other African bands, marking a historic gathering in Africa.

In 1976, Prince Nico Mbarga introduced the "panko," a fusion of Cameroonian and Nigerian rhythms infused with the energy of James Brown. His song "Sweet Mother," sung in pidgin, became a massive hit in Africa, selling over 16 million copies on the continent.

Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango achieved international recognition in 1973 with his Top 40 hit "Soul Makossa," a pioneering disco track that sold over 100,000 copies in the United States. The following year, Dibango was nominated for an Oscar in Hollywood for his hit.



On March 6, 1971, the Soul To Soul concert marked a historic occasion in Accra, Ghana, bringing together some of the finest Ghanaian and American musicians to celebrate the country's 14th anniversary of independence. The lineup included iconic performers such as Roberta Flack, Ike & Tina Turner, Wilson Pickett, the Voices of East Harlem, Santana featuring Willie Bobo, Les McCann, and Eddie Harris. This event provided a memorable and culturally significant musical encounter between two continents, showcasing the richness and diversity of soul music and its roots.



Françoise Gründ and Cherif Khaznadar created the festival des arts traditionnels in the city of Rennes in the mid-70s. Les Tambours du Burundi and the Sabri Brothers from Pakistan were few of the many bands who were invited to the festival on 1981. They inspired Mark Kidel and Thomas Broman who were there to look for artists to book for their first edition of Womad festival.


FESTAC – 77 – Lagos - NIGERIA

The second greatest African festival, known as FESTAC '77 - the African Festival of Arts and Culture, took place in Lagos, Nigeria, from January 15 to February 12, 1977. With over 17,000 participants from more than 50 countries in attendance, it stands as the largest cultural event ever held on the African continent.

The festival featured an impressive lineup of artists, including Stevie Wonder, the Sun Ra Arkestra, and Donald Byrd from the US; Tabu Ley and Franco from Zaire; Gilberto Gil from Brazil; Bembeya Jazz from Guinea; and Louis Moholo, Dudu Pukwana, and Miriam Makeba from South Africa.



Macondo Konzerte (Macondo Concerts) was created in Germany in 1978, by Alfredo Troncoso Leone and Carmen Pérez Rojo, with the purpose of disseminating Latin American culture in Europe. It begins with the programming of concerts for Chilean groups such as Los Jaivas, Illapu, Inti Illimani, Quilapayún, Isabel and Angel Parra, Santiago del Nuevo Extremo. Later, Argentine artists such as Atahualpa Yupanqui, Mercedes Sosa, Astor Piazzolla, León Gieco, among others, joined the Chileans and toured Europe annually.

Starting in 1985, Macondo Konzerte GmbH produces the first Salsa Festivals, with artists such as Rubén Blades, Willie Colón, Irakere, Van Van, Adalberto Alvarez, Conexión Latina, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Tito Puente, Ray Barretto and European tours with them.


Mamadou Konté founded Africa Fête in 1978 in France, marking the inception of the first major international music festival dedicated to showcasing established and emerging African musical artists in the country. From 1981 to 1988, the festival featured some of the best talents from the continent, including Xalam, Pierre Akendengué, Djamel Allam, Toto Bissainthe, Touré Kunda, Abdullah Ibrahim, Manu Dibango, Aswad, Youssou Ndour and le Super Etoile de Dakar, Salif Keita, Sourakata Kouyaté, les Malopoets, Ray Lema, Papa Wemba, and Mahlathini & the Mahotella Queens. Africa Fête played a crucial role in promoting African music and culture in France, providing a platform for artists to showcase their talent and connect with diverse audiences.


ABIDJAN - A musical El Doradoa and cultural crossroads.

At the end of the 1970s, many African regimes succumbed, creating instability in the region, which prompted several artists to leave their countries and settle in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where they found stability, security, numerous clubs to perform, and modern studios. Over the years, the capital Abidjan became the heart of African music, thanks to a flourishing cocoa economy. Artists such as Tabu Ley Rochereau, Fela Kuti, Manu Dibango, the Rail Band, the Ambassadeurs, Laba Sosseh, Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, Boncana Maïga, Tshala Muana, Amadou Ballaké, Francis Kingsley, Mory Kanté, Salif Keita, l'Horoya Band, and Sam Mangwana were all present and active in Abidjan.



The term 'World Music' had not yet gained popularity. Instead, the category 'Third World' was utilized in the NME charts to encompass music from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and any region outside of Europe and North America. The chart was compiled by Triple Earth Records, which later evolved into a significant 'world music' label in the 1980s.



When reggae emerged in the late 1960s, it acted as a cultural bombshell not only in Jamaica but also around the world. Bob Marley emerged as the flag bearer of this music genre, which influenced and inspired societies globally, contributing to the development of new counter-culture movements, particularly in Europe, the USA, and Africa.

Since the release of his first international album, 'Catch A Fire,' in 1973, Bob Marley had penned songs such as 'War,' 'One Love,' and 'Positive Vibrations' from iconic albums like 'Rastaman Vibration,' 'Exodus,' and 'Kaya,' which solidified his reputation as a deeply committed revolutionary pan-Africanist who directly identified with the struggle of Black Africans.

Over the years, Bob Marley became the spokesperson for millions of oppressed people worldwide. His participation in the celebration of Zimbabwe's independence, his concerts with Stevie Wonder for blind charity, and his efforts towards reconciliation between rival Jamaican presidents all attest to his goodwill towards a world of justice and equality.

Kidjo said about him: "We were so convinced that African music will reach the whole world that nothing could stop us.” Thanks to Bob Marley and his success, our music was promoted in so many countries”



In 1982, the independent Celluloid label played a pioneering role in bridging the gap between immigrant and indigenous European markets by releasing albums by the Senegalese group Touré Kunda, selling more than 300,000 copies. Touré Kunda's album "Emma" featured a fusion of African music, funk, disco, and reggae, making it more accessible to a wider audience, including rock, jazz, and pop fans in France. This innovative blend led to a breakthrough, attracting a new audience and earning Touré Kunda their first gold record. The success of Touré Kunda in the 1980s paved the way for other African artists to gain recognition from Western producers and media outlets. This movement eventually gave rise to the establishment of SONO MONDIAL in France and, a few years later, to the world music genre in England.



According to the producer Meissonier, the concert Fela Kuti held in Paris on March 15, 1981, at Porte de la Chapelle, and which drew around 10,000 spectators, was a pivotal moment that paved the road to the world music genre. Meissonier explains that prior to 1981, there were many artists in Paris, but their music was often confined within specific communities. However, Fela's concert in 1981 changed this dynamic significantly. As the first African star to transcend community boundaries and attract a diverse audience, Fela broke down barriers and sparked a wave of new sounds and musical influences. This explosion of creativity caught the attention of record companies, leading them to recognize the talent of African artists and subsequently produce their music on a larger scale. Fela's concert, therefore, played a crucial role in expanding the reach and recognition of African music on the global stage.


ALPHA BLONDY - Brigadier Sabari

According to French journalist Florent Mazzoleni, whom you interviewed, Alpha Blondy played a significant role as a catalyst for the world music genre. Mazzoleni suggests that Alpha Blondy's song "Brigadier Sabari," released in 1982, was a pivotal moment in modern African music history and counted among the greatest hits of the genre. Through his innovative blend of reggae with African rhythms and themes, Alpha Blondy helped popularize world music and expand its reach to global audiences. His music not only resonated with listeners in Africa but also captivated audiences worldwide, contributing to the growing recognition and appreciation of diverse musical styles from around the globe.


SUNNY ADÉ – Juju Music

Juju Music" is the 1982 major label debut album by Nigerian juju band King Sunny Adé and His African Beats. It achieved both critical and commercial success, peaking at 111 on Billboard's "Pop Albums" chart. The New York Times, which described the album in 1982 as "the year's freshest dance-music album," credited it in 1990 with having launched the "World Beat movement in the United States." The album's infectious rhythms, rich instrumentation, and vibrant melodies captivated listeners and helped introduce juju music and African music more broadly to a global audience, establishing King Sunny Adé as a seminal figure in world music.

Juju Music is the 1982 major label debut of Nigerian juju band King Sunny Adé and His African Beats. The album was a critical and commercial success, peaking at 111 on Billboard's "Pop Albums" chart. The New York Times, which described the album in 1982 as "the year's freshest dance-music album", credited it in 1990 with having launched the "World Beat movement in the United States"

His first two internationally released albums for Island Records sold more than 100,000 copies each in the United States in 1983–84.



Osibisa stood out as one of the most successful and enduring African-heritage bands in London, alongside contemporaries like Assagai, Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, Demon Fuzz, Black Velvet, and Noir. They played a pivotal role in establishing world music and Afro-Rock as marketable genres in the UK.


This pan-African band skilfully fused West African and African Caribbean influences with elements of rock and jazz, long before the term 'world music' came into use.


WOMAD, founded in 1980 by English rock musician Peter Gabriel along with Thomas Brooman, Bob Hooton, Mark Kidel, Stephen Pritchard, Martin Elbourne, and Jonathan Arthur, has been a significant force in celebrating global music, arts, and dance.

The inaugural WOMAD festival took place in Shepton Mallet, UK in 1982, featuring a diverse lineup of artists including Peter Gabriel, Don Cherry, The Beat, Drummers of Burundi, Echo & The Bunnymen, Imrat Khan, Prince Nico Mbarga, Peter Hammillon, Simple Minds, Suns of Arqa, The Chieftains, and Ekome National Dance Company, among others. Ekome National Dance Company, founded by Barrington, Angie, Pauline, and Lorna Anderson, stood out as a pioneering African arts company in the UK.

WOMAD festivals have played a crucial role in introducing audiences to artists from around the world who later became leading figures in the world music scene. Notable examples include Youssou N'Dour, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sabri Brothers, and many others. Through its celebration of cultural diversity and artistic excellence, WOMAD has enriched the global music landscape and fostered greater understanding and appreciation of diverse musical traditions.



The Musiques Métisses festival has been among the pioneering festivals, alongside Womad and Africa Fête, in introducing African and Latin artists to European audiences. Since 1981, the festival has showcased a diverse array of talent, enriching the cultural landscape and fostering cross-cultural exchange.

Among the many artists who have graced the stage at Musiques Métisses are Kanaga de Mopti, Super Biton de Ségou, Dudu Pukwana, Ensemble Kotéba, Les Amazones de Guinée, Xalam, Zila, Malopoets, Irakere, Aswad, Steel Pulse, Dennis Bovell Dub Band & Linton Kwesi Johnson, Kandia Kouyaté, Malavoi, Zani Diabaté & le Super Djata Band de Bamako, Zéklè, and Salif Keita, among others. These performances have not only entertained audiences but also served as a platform for artists to share their rich cultural heritage and artistic talents with audiences across Europe. The Musiques Métisses festival continues to be a vital force in promoting diversity, cultural understanding, and appreciation of global music traditions.



Jean-François Bizot, a journalist and owner of the magazine Actuel, founded Radio Nova in 1981, envisioning it as a "world sound system" where diverse musical currents from around the globe would converge, stirring new emotions. Its playlist showcases non-mainstream or underground artists across various genres, including electro, new wave, reggae, jazz, hip hop, and world music.

Patrice Van Eersel, also a journalist at Actuel, conceptualized the SONO MONDIAL in his boss's living room during a conversation filled with smoke and ideas, with musician Ray Lema, in the early 1980s.

Rémy Kolpa Kopoul was among the pioneers who helped shape what would later be termed "World Music." He discovered and supported numerous foreign artists, facilitating their recognition in France, including Mayra Andrade and Yuri Buenaventura, among others. He organized Brazilian tours for artists such as Kassav, Manu Dibango, and Salif Keïta, and brought the greatest Brazilian voices like Caetano Veloso, João Gilberto, Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil, and João Bosco to Europe.



On the other side of the Channel, in London, Peel and his Radio 1, along with Andy Kershaw, DJ Charlie Gillett, Lucy Duran, Alexis Corner, Verity Sharp, Thomas Brooman, Doug Veitch, Ben Mandelsson, to name just a few, had already begun preparing the ground for the arrival of more music from the rest of the world, which would give rise to world music in 1987. Osibisa, Bhundu Boys, Gaspar Lawal, Oseni, Bongos & The Groovies, the Steve Rhodes Singers, and Fela Kuti, with whom they fell in love and started to promote and produce, paved the way for the birth of world music.

WOMAD popularized 'world music', introducing debut artists and setting new trends in the industry, and globalizing music festivals, influencing the programming and activities of other UK events

His obsession with finding new music has resulted in a 7.5 ton record collection, a collection garnered from having visited 97 Countries in his pursuit of new and exciting sounds. Andy Kershaw wrote the book on World Music



Many African artists settled in European capitals, notably Paris, Brussels, and London, in the early 1980s after the collapse of the Ivorian economy. Pierre Akendengue, Touré Kunda, Manu Dibango, Mory Kanté, and Salif Keita were among these immigrant artists.


TE BIG BANG – The 80´s

Here are some significant events that shaped the history of world music during the 1980s and contributed to the birth of the world music concept.

  • Formation of WOMAD: The World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) festival was founded in 1980 by Peter Gabriel, alongside others. It aimed to showcase and celebrate the diversity of global music and cultural traditions. WOMAD played a crucial role in popularizing world music and fostering cross-cultural exchanges.

  • Establishment of World Music Charts: Various music publications and radio stations began incorporating world music charts into their programming during the 1980s. This helped introduce audiences to a wide range of musical styles from different parts of the world.

  • Rise of World Music Labels: Record labels specializing in world music emerged during this decade, such as Real World Records, Putumayo World Music, and Nonesuch Explorer Series. These labels played a vital role in promoting and distributing world music recordings to international audiences.

  • Globalization of Music Distribution: Advances in technology, such as satellite television and the proliferation of cassette tapes and CDs, facilitated the global distribution of music. This enabled artists from diverse cultural backgrounds to reach new audiences beyond their home countries.

  • Collaborations and Fusion Projects: Musicians from different cultural backgrounds began collaborating and experimenting with fusion projects, blending traditional musical elements with contemporary genres like jazz, rock, and electronic music. This fusion of styles contributed to the evolution of world music and its appeal to a broader audience.

  • Recognition of World Music Awards: Institutions and organizations began recognizing world music through awards and honors. For example, the BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music was established in 2002 to celebrate outstanding contributions to the genre.

  • These events, among others, played a significant role in shaping the history of world music during the 1980s and laid the foundation for the emergence of the world music concept as we know it today.

  • Festival” Jazz en France" was renamed "Musiques Métisses – 1985 – Booking more popular and urban music from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean.

  • Womad in England 1982 – London - England

  • Festival des Francofolies - 1985 La Rochelle - France

  • Festival du Rai de Bobigny – 1986 – Paris- France

  • Festival - Africolor - 1989 – Saint Denis – Paris - France

  • Paul Simon trip to South Africa - 1985

  • The birth of Sonodisc - 1981 – Paris- France

  • Manu Dibango, Sidney, Serge Gainsbourg, Ray Lema in improvisation during a concert broadcast by Mosaïque in the program of 16 december 1984.

  • Bhundy boys from Zimbabwe & Youssou ndour from Senegal was invited for the Amnesty International gala 1988.

  • Falun festival was launched in Sweden - 1986

  • Peter Gabriel creates the label real world music in 1989. Several other labels emerged in the 80´s.

  • Touré Kunda, Kassav, Salif Keita got gold Grammys.

  • Jimmy Cliff and Peter Tosh toured in South Africa -1981.

  • King Sunny Ade sold more than 100,000 copies of his album Juju in the United States in 1983–84.

  • SOS racism manifestation - On June 15, 1985 – For the first time in France, artists such as Nass El Ghiwane, Malavoi, Karim Kacel, Djurdjura, Steel Pulse, and many others performed alongside their French colleagues in front of a mixed audience comprising both French citizens and immigrants at Place de la Concorde in Paris.

  • Fête de la musique 1982 – Paris- France.

  • Felas concert at Hippodrome de Pantin 1981 – Paris- France.

  • Marche des beurs – 1983 – Paris – France.

  • Youssou Ndour first concert in Paris – 1984

  • Tribute to Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday - February 1987, - Wembley - UK

  • Charity concert - Tam Tam – 1985 – Paris – France.

  • Stern’s African store opened its doors – 1983 - London - England

  • Africa fête festival – 1984 – Pantin – Paris – France.

  • Silvio Rodríguez and Pablo Milanés played together i Argentina - april, 1984

  • Bhundu Boys on cover of NME - February 1987 – London - UK

  • Ibrahym sylla produced Salif Keitas album Soro – Paris - France

  • Alpha Blondy hits - Brigadier Sabari – 1982 – Abidjan – Ivory Coast

  • Bob Marley visited Brazil in 1980 from March 18th until March 20th to promote the launch of the Ariola label in Brazil.

  • Concert Joane Baez – Mercedes sosa – 5 june 1988

  • Cesaria Evora released "La diva aux pieds nus" in 1987 and performed for the first time at the New Morning in Paris on October 1, 1988.

  • Tabu Ley toured 27 US states and performed in New York to 1,200 people in 1988

  • In 1985 by a newfound policy of “openness” under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev allowed for Russian rock bands to produce content without the harsh censorship that had permeated the music since its very inception. For the first time, bands could tour the U.K. and U.S., thus bringing their music to a fresh audience.

  • The festival Nuits d'Afrique was founded in 1987 by the dancer and choreographer Lamine Touré.

  • Gérard Chess, director of the American label Ebony Records, produced Mory Kante’s first album Courougnégné, in 1981.

  • The expression”Local Music from Out There" appeared for the first time on the cover of the magazine fRoots in november 1988 and has been there ever since.

  • World music in Sweden was covered by a radio program on Swedish Radio P3 called Rytmdoktorn which was broadcast between the years 1982 and 1989. The program was hosted by Thomas Gylling.

  • In 1989, The Rolling Stones went to Tangier, Morocco for three days to record the song “Continental Drift” with the Master Musicians of Joujouka led by Bachir Attar for the Stones’ album Steel Wheels

  • Inti – Illimani return to Chile from their exile in Italy 1985.

  • Macondo Konzerte GmbH produced the first Salsa festivals in 1985.

  • Youssou ndour played in Paris on the 18 may 84 and toured in Germany, England, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Switzerland

  • Papa Wemba on French television - TF1, 1988.

  • Manu Chao formed the group Manu Negra in 1987 – The music is a mix of Ska, reggae, rock and Punk.

  • Zimbabwe's Thomas Mapfumo was the first artist from Africa to appear on the front of fRoots, October 1985.

  • Jean Pierre Elkabache invited Cheb Mami on Europé 1 (French television) on June 10, 1986

  • Mateso (Suffering) (Triple Earth, 1985)

  • Algiers hosts the youth festival (1985) with the participation of the best artists of that time like Youssou ndour, Salif Keita, King Sunny Ade, Eddie Palmeiri and more.

  • The first World Music Day celebrations took place in Paris in 1982 where more than 1,000 musicians performed in various parts of the city.

  • José Da Silva founded the label Luasfrica 1988.

  • The Algerian – kabyle singer Idir plays Live the Festival sfinks belgique 1984

  • March 6th, 1985, marked the departure of the Jericho caravan, an initiative aimed at drawing public attention to the case of Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, who had been imprisoned since November 8th, 1984.

  • Tabu Ley crossed 27 states of the USA and performed in New York in front of 1200 people In 1988, He then flew to Los Angeles where he stayed for a year and frequented several American stars such as Eddie Murphy, Jim Brown and Rebbie Jackson, Michael's sister and more.


By the early 80s, American and English bands were infusing their music with sounds from Africa, India, Asia, and beyond, creating a fresh new feel. Paul Simon, Malcolm McLaren, Peter Gabriel, David Byrne, Jon Hassell, Brian Eno, Ben Mandelson, Stewart Copeland, and Serge Gainsbourg are among the many Western artists who successfully experimented with these influences, resulting in great albums such as Graceland, Simon's most successful studio album and his highest-charting album in over a decade, estimated to have sold more than 16 million copies worldwide.

Swedish artists like Christer Bothén, Bengt Berger, Kjell Westling, Anita Livstrand, Jörgen Adolfsson, Per Tjernberg, Tuomo Prättälä, Owe Ronström, Tommy Johansson, and John Lundberg, among many others, also began exploring music from other cultures as early as the 70s. This is evidenced by albums like Orient Express, Sevda, Archimedes Badkar, Afro 70, Mötet, and Dag Vag.


  • Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics is a music album of Jon Hassell och Brian Eno, witch mix ambient & world music

  • Malcolm McLaren, Sex Pistols manager introduced to British pop, South African township jive on the hit single Double Dutch.

  • Dream Theory in Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two is a World music album by Jon Hassell, released in 1981. It is the "sequel" to his collaboration with Brian Eno on the Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics, which was released the previous year.

  • Lo'Jo band was founded in 1982 in Angers by singer/keyboardist Denis Péan and Richard. They mixed North African with French folk elements.

  • 3 Mustaphas 3 is a British World music band formed in 1982. They mixed Western rock with Balkan style

  • The Tide Is High" is a 1967 rocksteady song written by John Holt, originally produced by Duke Reid and performed by the Jamaican group The Paragons. It was covered by the American new wave band Blondie in 1980.

  • Synth-poppers Blancmange had their biggest UK hit with 1982’s “Living on the Ceiling,” powered by a seemingly bhangra-inspired riff

  • Monsoon their debut album, Third Eye is a heady-but-propulsive blend of Indian pop, raga, new wave, and a splash of psychedelia with support av Sheila Chandra.

  • Rachid Taha and friends created the band Carte de séjour, inspired by the punk band The Clash

  • Mick Fleetwood recorded in Accra (Ghana) the album visitors, 1981

  • Stewart Copeland released a solo album called ‘The Rhythmatist – 1985. This album fuses tribal chants, traditional African vocal arrangements and lyricism.

  • Making Music is an album by Indian tabla player and composer Zakir Hussain featuring Jan Garbarek, John McLaughlin and Hariprasad Chaurasia, recorded in 1986.

  • Roy Ayers left for Lagos to produce with Fela Kuti the album Music of Many Colours.

  • The German band Dissidenten formed in Berlin by Uve Muellrich, Marlon Klein and Friedo Josch in 1981 was known for their collaboration with Middle Eastern, African and Indian musicians

  • David Byrne launched the label Luaka Bop including a series of Cuba, Cape Verde, Brazil, and Peru music

  • Robert Palmer King sunny Ade from Nigeria

  • Burundi drummers influenced Bow Wowand Ant and the Ants.

  • Pygmy music of central Africa influenced Deep Forest andHerbie Hancock

  • South African music influenced Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, The Black Panther Party, jazz and funk musicians and many others.


The explosion of all these exotic and exciting new sounds heard everywhere attracted the attention of many producers. Record companies noticed the presence of talented African artists and the significant public interest. Consequently, they began producing them at a rapid pace, while others went overseas to search for new artists. Additionally, new record labels emerged rapidly, akin to mushrooms sprouting after rain

The explosion of all these exotic and exciting new sounds heard everywhere attracted the attention of many producers. The record companies noticed that there were great, talented African artists and great public interest. They, then started producing them like crazy, others went overseas to look for new artists, while new record labels emerged like mushrooms.

  • Ben Mandelsson from Globestyle label and Roger Armstrong went to Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya and Madagascar.

  • Mary Farquharson and Maria went to Mali.

  • Robert plant picked up influences from Morocco.

  • Andy Kershaw was looking for Rai music in Algeria.

  • Simon Broughton Songlines Editorialist travelled to Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and India.

  • Francis Falceto left for Ethiopia after having discovered Mahmoud Ahmed LP record,

  • Owen Elias and Doug Veitch, from Discafrique, went to Zimbabwe.

  • Ian Anderson from folkRoots left for Senegal

  • Jon Hassel to Indonesia

  • Bob Brozman to Hawaii

  • Robert Urbanus from Sterns to Nigeria

  • Gilbert Mousset from Festival Metisses to Mali and Senegal

  • The French Yves Wernert, Philippe Berthieropened recording studio recording in Bamako, Mali.

  • Philippe Conrath, Marc Hollander from Crammed disc left to South Africa.

  • Jacques Bizollon brought from France in the early 80s, the best recording material. He produced more than 1500 artists in his studio JBZ in Abidjan.

  • Gilbert Castro from celluloid and Melodie distribution went to USA and Brazil.

  • Codona and Oregon and artists such as the sazophonist Charlie Marioano and the trumpeter Joh Hasell



  • Indeed, the 1980s marked a vibrant period of musical exploration and innovation across various genres and cultural traditions. During this decade, hundreds of new albums were produced and released, showcasing the rich diversity of musical expressions from around the world.

  • In Africa, artists such as Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade, and Youssou N'Dour rose to prominence, blending traditional rhythms with contemporary sounds to create Afrobeat, Juju, and Mbalax music, respectively.

  • In the Balkans, groups like Goran Bregovic's Wedding and Funeral Band and Bijelo Dugme gained international recognition for their fusion of folk music with rock and pop elements.

  • Latin America saw the emergence of artists like Rubén Blades, Carlos Santana, and Manu Chao, who infused their music with elements of salsa, rock, reggae, and other genres, creating a dynamic and eclectic sound.

  • In the Arab world, musicians such as Fairuz, Oum Kalthoum, and Rachid Taha gained widespread acclaim for their contributions to traditional Arabic music, as well as for their experimentation with Western influences.

  • In India, artists like Ravi Shankar and Zakir Hussain continued to push the boundaries of classical Indian music, while also collaborating with Western musicians to create fusion projects that bridged cultural divides.

  • In the Caribbean, genres like reggae, calypso, and soca continued to evolve, with artists like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Arrow gaining international fame for their infectious rhythms and socially conscious lyrics.

Accompanying the release of these new albums were touring concerts that brought these diverse musical traditions to audiences around the world. These concerts not only served to promote the music but also fostered cultural exchange and appreciation among people from different backgrounds.

Overall, the 1980s was a transformative decade for world music, as artists from across the globe embraced innovation and experimentation, resulting in a rich tapestry of musical expression that continues to inspire and resonate with audiences today.

Demand on the boards began to be noticed in stores and caused a little problem, because there were no trades for this kind of music. At the same time as interest had increased, record shops also had difficulties categorizing music that fell between the established Western genres designations. No one knew how all this music should be promoted, said Ben Mandelsson

Confusion in the sector led to confusion in the record stores. Haphazard cataloguing made it difficult for the increasing number of record buyers to find or browse CDs of international music. Some kind of standardization was needed.



That was the spark that led Ben Mandelson and Roger Armstrong, founders of the Globestyle label, to convene a meeting on June 29, 1987. British and American promoters, record companies, distributors, stores, journalists, and broadcasters were invited to come together to discuss ways to collaborate on a shared concept. The goal was to find a name that would benefit both the record companies distributing the discs they produced and the shops willing to stock them, as well as making it easier for the public to find them. It certainly was not a philosophical discussion about ethnomusicology.


Instead of one meeting, three meetings took place. There were 27 people present at the first meeting: Chris Popham, Ben Mandelson, Roger Armstrong, and Ted Carroll from GlobeStyle/Ace; Jonathan Rudnick from Crammed US; Amanda Jones, Thomas Brooman, and Steve Haddrell from WOMAD; Charlie Gillett from Oval; Mark Kidel from Channel 4; Ian Anderson and Lisa Warburton from Folk Roots/Rogue Records; Anne Hunt, Mary Farquharson, and Nick Gold from Arts Worldwide/World Circuit; Scott Lund and Iain Scott from Stern’s/Triple Earth; Joe Boyd from Hannibal; and writer Chris Stapleton.



During the meeting, various names were suggested, including Worldbeat, Tropical, Ethnic, Beat, Hot, International Pop, and Roots. 'World Music' seemed to encompass the most and exclude the least, receiving the most support in a show of hands. Nobody proposed defining it or pretending there was a strict definition; it was simply to be a category, akin to jazz, classical, or rock.

It was agreed that the term ‘world music’ would be used by all labels present to offer a new and unifying category for shop racking. This meant that people no longer had to think about where to put the Yemeni Pop, the Bulgarian choirs, the Zairian soukouss or the Gambian kora CDs.

Practically this means that the term WORLD MUSIC will be used to make it easier to find that Malian kora record, the music of Bulgaria, Zairean soukous or Indian Ghazals – the new WORLD MUSIC section will be the first place to look in the local record shop.

It also proposed that all would use now "World music" on their album art to clarify under which slot they would be sorted, but also on all promotional materials. This is what was agreed during the meetings that you can read the entire minutes of the three meetings in folkroots magazine from the Monday 29th June 1987.


WORLD MUSIC - The definition

Most of my questions to those who coined the term 'world music' have left me feeling stupid and not knowledgeable enough about the matter. If I had carefully read the minutes of the meeting previously published in Folk Roots magazine, I would certainly have avoided asking the same annoying questions about the definition of world music. Everything was well-documented in Folk Roots magazine. In any case, I was reminded by Ian Anderson, Ben Mandelson, and Ian Scott that there is no specific definition for world music. It's just a name, a box of convenience like jazz, blues, etc.

Here is what was agreed during the meeting in minutes World Music History: Trying to reach a definition of 'WORLD MUSIC' provoked much lengthy discussion and finally It was agreed that it means practically any music that isn't, at present, catered for by its own category e.g.: reggae, jazz, blues, folk. Also, it’s not a genre. It’s just a label on a box. Nobody thought of defining it or pretending there was such a genre: it was just to be a box of convenience, like jazz, classical or rock.

Also, it’s not a genre. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS WORLD MUSIC. It’s just a label on a box.

We didn't create the music, we created a specific way to focus on the music, which was already there, and which was already happening sufficiently to justify the call for a meeting


Now that there isn't a specific definition of "world music," the label can indeed feel fuzzy and vague, even to me as a store owner. This lack of clarity makes it challenging to decide where to place albums by artists such as Gotan Project, Mongolian death metal bands, Yemeni blues musicians, hip-hop group Magic System, or 113. Are reggae and British folk music considered world music? Should traditional English music be promoted as world music? These questions highlight the ambiguity surrounding the genre


Knowing now that there is no precise definition of world music, the fact remains that the box for expression of convenience seemed a bit fuzzy and vague even to me as store owner, because this does not give the answers about where should man place the albums with Gotan Project, Mongolian death metal, Yemeni blues, hip hop group Magic system or 113. Are reggae and British folk music world music? Should traditional English music be promoted as world music?


Should we categorize all these records under the same label, 'world music'? For me, this isn't a problem since my store specializes only in world music. With my background in different cultures and fluency in several languages, I can easily organize and locate my records. However, for most stores that don't have this advantage, they must use the 'world music' label as a catch-all category. This situation complicates things and is unfair to artists in other genres. For example, jazz artists like Ray Lema, electronic groups like Gotan Project, hip-hop group 113, and Chinese rock bands like Hei Bao are all categorized as 'world music,' while British or American rock bands are not. They find themselves in the same category as artists like Salif Keita, Djavan, or the Tambours of Burundi.


The second problem that arises is how the term 'world music' is perceived, interpreted, and utilized in various parts of the world. Are Jacques Brel, ABBA, and Johnny Hallyday considered world music in stores in South Africa, Chile, or New Delhi? Yes, they are! In a record shop I visited in Cape Town, I saw albums by Johnny Hallyday, the French rock star, categorized under WORLD MUSIC.

So, what constitutes world music and what does not? It is the confusion and diverse interpretations like these that prompted reactions from various stakeholders.


Mike Hart mike explain in an interview with the journalist Stuart Henderson - "There’s no such thing as world music. Let me put it to you this way: if you’re in the Philippines, Appalachian music is world music. World music is usually what is not here; it’s what is out there. It’s electric, it’s acoustic… I’ve won two Grammies in world music and I don’t know what it is

If you’re a Pygmy in the Ituri rainforest, and you hear a radio playing Elvis Presley, or Beyoncé, that’s world music. You understand? So, world music is a misnomer. There is no such thing as world music. It all depends on where there is. It all depends on where you are!

Look, I was in Egypt in the 70s, and I was on caravans, and people were listening to, you know, Kiss on the radio. They’re on their camels, and they’re listening to radio stations from Cairo. We’re out in the middle of the desert and we’re listening to American pop music.

I once again took the courage to ask Ben Mandelson, Roger Armstrong, Ian Scott, and Ian Anderson, all of whom were part of the meeting where the term 'world music' was coined, about the confusion concerning what to include and exclude from the category and what the criteria are for being part of this convenient label. Here are their answers.


Ian Anderson - In the heads of people with too much time to think!  I don’t see any more confusion than there is about whether to put things in the ’rock’, ’jazz’ or ’classical’ boxes.

Worldmusic oasis - Can we put Dubliners, Santana, Gotan Project, Imuvrini, Lojo and Justin Adams under the umbrella of world music?


Ian Anderson - If you like, it’s your choice. It doesn’t bother me. It’s NOT A GENRE; it’s just a convenient box, or your own shelves, if you don’t file your records alphabetically.


Roger Armstrong - #You can be world music and traditional music and African music and reed-instrument diverse music and youth music and island music and political music and sacred music and new urban music and field-recording and music from the archives and music from a very small place. And many more things of course.

When we first looked for a box to put everything in, it was mostly records that had been made for a local market, but which happened to be attractive to those of us outside of those countries, whether it was Bulgaria, Nigeria or Brazil.” It includes local traditional music from all over the world as well as hybrids and fusion and music from countries where it is made with Western production values and glossy studio techniques – and therein lies the rub.

Ben Mandelson - World music has always been a self-identifying genre. If you want to be in it, you are in it, if you don´t, no problem. There is no world music police.


Iain Scott - It depends entirely on where you are sitting.


Dan Sorper - I like the easy way “world music” rolls off the tongue but believe that there are many genres called world music that really don’t fit. It’s hard for me to call French pop which is displayed in “world music” sections of stores as “world music.” Similarly, when you go on websites like Amazon, you’ll see rock groups from Ireland like U2 showing up in the world music offerings simply because they’re from Ireland. I think it’s better and more accurate to break it down into Latin music (and musical genres like Salsa, Merengue, etc.), African music and its countries and/or genres.


Charlie Gillett - Reggae isn't world music. If you have the box already, it doesn't need to clutter up the world-music box. There is a finite amount of space here. It's the same with folk. Eliza Carthy has the folk awards; she doesn't need to be in the world-music awards as well.


Shortly after its creation and implementation in 1987, the term world music will undergo a wave of critics for being so vague in its definition that it lost all meaning, attacked by conservative commentators as expressing a Western liberal current that idealized exotic traditions while undervaluing or ignoring their own cultural (or musical) heritage. This controversial category amalgamated the music of sources as diverse as Tuvan throat singers, Zimbabwean guitar bands, Pakistani qawwalī (Sufi-music) singers, Cajun fiddlers, and Hawaiian slack-key guitarists. The term “world music” has been qualified also as complete misnomer and outright racist.

The term is a catchall that commonly refers to non-Western music of any and all sorts, popular music, traditional music and even classical music. It´s marketing as well as a pseudo musical term and a name for a bin in the record store signifying stuff that doesn't belong anywhere else in the store. What's in that bin ranges from the most blatantly commercial music produced by a country, like Hindi film music (the singer Asha Bhosle being the best well known example), to the ultra-sophisticated, super-cosmopolitan art-pop of Brazil (Caetano Veloso, Tom Ze, Carlinhos Brown); from the somewhat bizarre and surreal concept of a former Bulgarian state-run folkloric choir being arranged by classically trained, Soviet-era composers (Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares) to Norteno songs from Texas and northern Mexico glorifying the exploits of drug dealers (Los Tigres del Norte). Albums by Selena, Ricky Martin and Los Del Rio (the Macarena kings), artists who sell millions of records in the United States alone, are racked next to field recordings of Thai hill tribes

David Byrne has downright hated the world music term, Mickey Hart goes further by denying even the existence of the term, Manu Chao refuses to be called world music, while Ian Scott describes the term is meaningless and is therefore open to a whole range of interpretations.

Here are some points of views from interviews I ‘did have with famous actors, artists and journalists that I collected from interviews and collected from music magazines on the concept of world music.


Brian Clark. "The term “world music” can be construed as racist because it mainly marginalizes music inspired by non-Western cultures. Music within this stereotype is often faced with indifference and impressions of it being primitive. Brian Clark is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer."


Ian Ashbridge - Wrasse Records - "The term world music is like a chain around the necks of some artists, it is too easily dismissed by the mass media as “specialist”. You cannot lump Daara J, a hip hop crew, Ali Farka Toure, a blues artist, and Rachid Taha, a punk under the same musical category."


Mike Heart - "There’s no such thing as world music. Let me put it to you this way: if you’re in the Philippines, Appalachian music is world music. World music is usually what is not here; it’s what is out there. It’s electric, it’s acoustic… I’ve won two Grammies in world music and I don’t know what it is. I won the first ever Grammy in world music and I don’t know what it is!

So, I mean… if you're a Pygmy in the Ituri rainforest, and you hear a radio playing Elvis Presley, or Beyoncé, that's world music. You understand? So, world music is a misnomer. There is no such thing as world music. It all depends on where there is. It all depends on where you are."


Salif Keita - "Well in fact it’s a label the music industry has created. It’s not World Music, its African music. But the positive part is that it has helped African music to be known all over the world"


Ray Lema - "I ‘do not understand why African music is included in "World Music". You will find, in the same tank, Staff Benda Bilili, Manu Dibango and DJ Arafat. It's like tidying up David Guetta with Petrucciani

Manu Chao - "Don't call me 'world music’, that's a neo-colonial label you British and Americans like to use for music not sung in English." from the Guardian in 2007". 


Miriam Makeba - "Why is our music called world music? I think people are being polite. What they want to say is that it's third world music. As they used to call us underdeveloped countries, now it has changed to developing countries, it's much more polite".


Angelique Kidjo - "Who invented this expression “world music”? Someone must have first called it “Third World music” and removed the word “third” to be politically correct!’ I think she was right. People like labels, but I don’t think any music should be put in a box. Anyway, you understand that it won’t be easy to put me in a little box."


Martin Meissonier - Journalist – Producer: "I do not like that term, because "world Music" is always the music of the others, compared to music global. It reminds me of the term "Diversity" where we mix all those which do not belong to the normal."


Ian Ashbridge - Wrasse Records - "The term world music is like a chain around the necks of some artists, it is too easily dismissed by the mass media as “specialist”. You cannot lump Daara J, a hip hop crew, Ali Farka Touré, a blues artist, and Rachid Taha, a punk under the same musical category."


Rachid Taha - "In England, I'm considered a rocker. That's what Robert Plant, Mick Jones or Brian Eno say, but in France, I'm in the world."


Salif Keita - "What music does not belong to the world? Isn't Beatles music world music? World music is just a name created by show business to put African music in a drawer. Why would you want to lock music into boxes?"


Daniek C - "D’abord, arrêtons-nous sur le vocable « World Music » qui est né un peu sous les auspices des industries occidentales qui voulaient différencier la musique internationale de tous genres qui marchait, à celle très sectorisée du reste du monde qui n’existait pas encore et se cherchait. J’ai combattu cette appellation à toutes les rencontres Internationales où j’avais eu à pouvoir m’exprimer mais n’y ai rien pu car elle a survécu. Les inventeurs de ce « World Music » ont eu le dessus quant à l’appellation."


Krister Malm: Swedish artist - "It has been unfortunate that the term "world music" had two different meanings, so it might have been better if in 1987 another term had been found. But we have to accept historical facts and proceed from the current situation at every point in time".


While I certainly understand the reasons for all these criticisms and do not support them, my curiosity led me to ask some of those who created the concept for their opinions on the subject.


Here are their answers.


Ian Andersson – Folkroots: Nowhere in any of this was there the faintest whiff of exploitation, exclusivity, cliques, ghettoization, conspiracies, cultural imperialism, racism or any of the other nonsensical -isms that have been chucked at the notion since, often by people who ought to know better and in the end do little more than expose their own foibles. It was simply a great idea, followed up by a lot of unprecedented co-operation between enthusiasts (very few thoughts of each other as business rivals) who wanted others to have more opportunity to share their enthusiasm. Yes, it was good for business, but by being so it was automatically good for the income of the artists too.

He continues - It’s not all positive, but World Music (or Musique du Monde in neighbourly Paris) is way ahead on points. It sells large quantities of records that you couldn’t find for love or money two decades ago. It has let many musicians in quite poor countries get new respect (and houses, cars and food for their families), and it turns out massive audiences for festivals and concerts. It has greatly helped international understanding and provoked cultural exchanges – people who’ve found themselves neighbors in the same box have listened to each other and ended up making amazing music together. Oh, and it has allowed a motley bunch of enthusiasts to not yet need to get proper jobs. I call it a Good Thing and just feel a bit sorry for people with the thinking time on their hands to decide they hate World Music… Lighten up, guys, it’s only a box in a record shop-https:

Mary Farquharson - "I think the term is very flawed. Perhaps if we’d anticipated the growth of a ”genre” as a result of that meeting, we might have chosen a different name but the idea was specifically to find a way of bringing together the work of a disparate group of people who, for different reasons, each had a deep interest in one or more styles of non-western music. It was coined to solve a problem at a specific time (the success of Graceland’s) in a specific place (London); I honestly don’t think anyone expected that it would have such an important impact on musical tastes all over the world."

Mary Farquharson - "I suppose I am even more aware or the contradictions and paradoxes of this term. I do regret that we didn’t think of some other name because the contradictions of this name are given too much importance. People don’t obsess about the term ”jazz” or ”blues” and seem to accept much more easily the evolution of these musical genres."

Randall Grass - "I think some people dislike the term "world music" for a couple different reasons: 1) as noted above it does promulgate a Eurocentric point of view towards music from non-Western localities or 2) some people who like "world music" fetishsize it as the "exotic other" or are excessively purist in what they consider acceptable "world music" and in that sense they are narrow-minded. But the term has had usefulness in Western countries as a marketing/promotion vehicle for recordings, media and concerts. One happy result of that is that there is now more awareness in Western countries of non-Western music and so people are more likely to know specific styles such as soca, Afrobeat, rai, reggae, soukous, etc. rather than just the generic "world music" term… I don't see the term as a big problem".

Rikki Stein - I´have never been comfortable with this term and feel thast it has served to "ghettoise" music from various parts of the world. At the same time, though,it has served to open the market.

Charlie Gillett recalled one example of the problem at hand: "in the US, Nigeria's King Sunny Ade would be filed under reggae, while in the UK; he "was just lost in the alphabet, next to Abba". Other terms were bandied about, but "world music" stuck and eleven indie labels put in £3,500 between them to introduce newly labeled sections in record stores.

This was a commercial marketing campaign designed to sell music by unknown artists. We were not musicologists or an ethnographer attempting to define what is or what was not ‘world music’. Some of the albums we promoted were recorded in London!"

Charlie Gillett - "We had a very simple, small ambition. It was all geared to record shops. That was the only thing we were thinking about. In America, King Sunny Ade [from Nigeria] was being filed under reggae. That was the only place shops could think of to put him. In Britain they didn’t know where to put this music - I think Ade was just lost in the alphabet, next to Abba. In 1985 Paul Simon did Graceland and that burst everything wide open, because he created an interest in South African music. People were going into shops saying: “I want some of that stuff” and there wasn’t anywhere for them to look."

Roger Armstrong - "Essentially it was a meeting of adults who all recognized that they had an interest in working together to produce an end result beneficial to all of us. I was and am perfectly happy with the term".

Robert Urbanus - "When we invented the” world” label in the 1980s, we were trying to extricate African artists from being filed in the same record bin as Tyrol beer-drinking anthems, trying to show African music was not about drums and grass skirts

Nick Gold - "It was coined to serve a very specific purpose, which was to get a category into record shops. Initially, it got records in shops and kick-started an interest. But now I think it's quite suffocating at it handcuffs the music to describe 95 % of the music produced in the world as one category."

Ian Scott - "The term ‘world music’ simply offers a context where all kinds of music from all over the world not marketed via Western mainstream categories might be found, enjoyed and explored. It is a term which is used and useful in other countries too, existing without the elitist middle-class connotations dumped on it here."

Mandelson answered Andrew Anderson a journalist from the magazine Arts Manager International.

He says: "World music has always been a self-identifying genre. If you want to be in it, you are in it, if you don´t, no problem. There is no world music police. You could ask the same about any big label: What is folk music, what is jazz, what is classical? It is not easy to answer. If you asked the 2500 delegates at womex you´d get 2500 different responses. Having said that, they all have a fuzzy agreement about what world music is, so we want to be here together to share that commonality.

This fuzziness is the genre´s best quality. It has kept its cohesion because it is still being determined. When you define things with barriers, you´re setting up a system, that says you´re in and you´re out, and that is not culturally helpful. he explains, so that fuzziness witch it gets criticized for, is also its savior, All the big definitions invite criticism, but if it really works, then it will survive that test, and 30 years on from that first meeting in an Islington pub, we can definitely say it has survived.

We must avoid enforcing exclusivity with world music. If you say you want to create a sense of community and then exclude people, that´s philosophically untrue to do that. Instead, if someone says no, we´re not world music I ‘say that´s Ok. If you want to be in it, you are in it, if you don´t, no problem. There is no world music police.

I´m very fond on idea of multiple identities, and I ‘think you can be one thing for one market and something else for another. You´re allowed to be five, 10, 20 different things depending on the situation, and it’s that multiplicity of identity that gives you character and gives you strength. It´s not a weakness, it’s an asset, and that definitely applies to world music.

Another characteristic of world music he says is its generosity. Being from an independent sector, we really felt it was important to work together and be cooperative, not competitive. The major labels are based on a market-share model.  But that´s automatically competitive, because it means, I ‘win by excluding you.  Whereas in a cooperative model the ideology is, I ‘win by including everyone. That is why that initial world music campaign in 1987 was successful."

Joe Boyd - "Its only meaning is the practical one, a way to separate these recordings from jazz, folk and pop in the record bins."

Simon Broughton editor of Songlines - "For me and for Songlines it is music that has its roots in an indigenous culture - and that can include the purest cuatro music from Venezuela, Bengali Baul music or Transylvanian string band, to contemporary dance bands or rap in West Africa or fusions of these things."

Robert Browning - "David Byrne likes to mouth off! It didn't stop him from doing a benefit for once! Basically, I agree that it is a hackneyed term and people everywhere interpret it differently. But, as I say, in this imperfect world of ours we are always grasping for words to describe what we do, and I guess this is the best we can come up with.

We didn't create the music, we created a specific way to focus on the music, which was already there, and which was already happening sufficiently to justify the call for a meeting".

Donald Vanrenen - "It was a good idea as a short-term marketing campaign which grew into a meaningless term depending on where you were in the world."


Ian Anderson's description of world music as "local music from out there" captures the essence of the genre succinctly and elegantly. Indeed, one of the defining characteristics of world music, roots music, traditional music, and folk music is their deep connection to a specific place or culture. Each style of music originates from somewhere, rooted in the traditions, history, and identity of its people.

This description resonates because it emphasizes the diversity and richness of the world's musical traditions while acknowledging their universal appeal. It reminds us that behind every exotic world music style is a community of people who have nurtured and preserved their cultural heritage through music.

Anderson's phrase serves as a powerful reminder that music has the remarkable ability to transcend borders and languages, connecting people across continents and cultures. It encapsulates the essence of world music in a simple yet profound way, making it accessible to all who appreciate the beauty of music from diverse corners of the globe.



Since its inception in 1987 and subsequent successes, the concept of world music had to wait until 1990 to gain recognition when the influential American trade magazine Billboard introduced a world music chart. A year later, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences added a world music category to the Grammy Awards. Among the artists who benefited most from this newfound visibility were the Gipsy Kings, the French pop-flamenco group that blended strong vocals with strummed guitars, catchy songs, and a neo-disco beat; an influx of Irish-related artists, many featuring the word Celtic in their album titles, which included the 1997 Grammy winners, the Chieftains; Cesaria Evora, a smoky-voiced nightclub singer from Cape Verde; and several "ambient-global" or "ethnotechno" projects, such as Enigma (from Germany) and Deep Forest (1995 Grammy winners from France), who fused ethnic voice samples with state-of-the-art rhythm programming.

Since its creation in 1987 and its successes, the concept of world music will nevertheless have to wait until 1990 to obtain recognition when the influential American trade magazine Billboard introduced world music chart. A year later the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences added a world music category to its Grammy Awards. Among the artists who benefited most from this new visibility were the Gipsy Kings, the French pop-flamenco group that sweetened strong vocals with strummed guitars, catchy songs, and a neo-disco beat; an avalanche of Irish-related artists, many featuring the word Celtic in their album titles, that included 1997 Grammy winners the Chieftains; Cesaria Evora, a smoky-voiced nightclub singer from Cape Verde; and several “ambient-global”, or “ethnotechno,” projects, including Enigma (from Germany) and Deep Forest (1995 Grammy winners from France), who merged so-called ethnic voice samples with state-of-the-art rhythm programming.


Finally, after reading numerous books and hundreds of articles online, in newspapers, and conducting interviews with over a hundred people prominent in the field, on the history of world music along with its advantages and disadvantages, I can confidently say that I understand the reasons behind all these criticisms. However, I don't fully support them because I've noticed that most of the people I interviewed seemed not to have read the entire protocol from World Music History: Minutes and press published in Folkroots magazine.

What people need to understand is that most of those who coined the term "world music" were grassroots musicians and music enthusiasts before becoming independent record label executives in the 1980s. Their intention in creating a category for world music was solely to unite around a common objective: to offer a new unifying category on the shelves and to promote WORLD MUSIC to record stores. Among the 13 participants gathered at the Empress of Russia pub, there were eleven independent record companies: Cooking Vinyl, Earthworks, GlobeStyle, Hannibal, Oval, Rogue, Sterns, Triple Earth, Topic, WOMAD, and World Circuit. So, where does racism and ghettoization come into play here?

In the 1980s, on which shelves in record stores in Stockholm, Madrid, or Munich should an album by Baaba Maal, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, or Khaled be placed so that customers can easily find them? Regardless of the name chosen instead of "world music," the term would have faced the same criticisms. Would the terms ETNO or AMIANT have been any better or more humane? In my opinion, it will always remain a catch-all.

As a specialized record dealer and connoisseur of this music, the problem didn't directly concern me. I speak several languages and have a multicultural background, which has helped me greatly in knowing how and where to place my albums. But how many people have this privilege? How can we expect a seller who has worked with pop, rock, or jazz music all their life to know where to store an album by Fairouz when they don't even know the language she sings or what country she comes from? Therefore, a convenient box was necessary at that time to bring together all the music of the world under one roof. And if some people prefer to call it a catch-all, they can do so.

So, my heartfelt gratitude goes to all those people who cooperated to bring the world closer through music.

Gerarld Seligman - Time passes. It is now over 30 years... The term "world music" is one we have all come to hate, but that, really, is a sign of how successful it has been. And to be honest, it never was meant to be a genre, but rather a marketing term for retail – ”File under World Music". It was a bin to put the LPs and CDs in since years ago this sort of music was spread all over the record store. It was hard to track down but became much easier once it could all be grouped under a single name in a given area of the shop. It was brilliant in that respect. It worked.


The concept of World Music has lifted people out of poverty and created jobs for millions of individuals. Countries such as Mali, Cuba, and Senegal have become significant music exporters. Great artists have been born and have become national heroes and music ambassadors for their countries, such as Khaled for Algeria, Cesaria Evora for Cape Verde, Tinariwen for the Tuareg people, Bombino for Niger, Buena Vista Social Club for Cuba, Ravi Shankar for India, Miriam Makeba for South Africa, Johnny Pacheco for all Latin Americans, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for Pakistan, Fela Kuti for Nigeria, Youssou Ndour for Senegal, Manu Dibango for Cameroon, Oum Kalthoum for Egypt, and Fairouz for Lebanon, among others.

World Music has brought people all over the world closer together and has made communication quite effective. It has also given rise to anthropology, which studies the cultures of different countries. Today, World Music is deeply appreciated and has become quite popular worldwide, with concerts and music festivals.

Now, World Music has become a large and important music industry, surpassing jazz and classical music in terms of sales and popularity.


The UK music festival Womad has also stopped using the term. “We understand that ‘world music’ is ghettoizing for a lot of the artists,” festival director Chris Smith told the Guardian. “We’re respectful of the term because it’s our heritage, but we need to evolve it because the music has evolved.

Indeed, World Music has evolved, and many of its artists have emerged from the box and have been able to fly on their own. Many artists have easily integrated into the mainstream. Artists like Salif Keita, Kidjo, Amadou and Mariam, Bombino, and Mulatu Astake are now known in every household around the world. If the Womad team proposes to evolve World Music, it's a good idea, and I completely agree with it. Instead of changing World Music to Global Music as they did with the Grammys, which I found. What will change? Salif Keita will still be in the box with the GLOBAL or WORLD appellation."



After more than 30 years of dissatisfaction and disagreement from most music specialists, and thanks to the long struggle of Angélique Kidjo, one of the great defenders of African music, the academy bowed to critics and decided on November 3, 2020, to rename the category of Best World Music Album to Best Global Music Album. The explanation provided was that discussions held over the summer with artists, ethnomusicologists, and linguists from around the world determined that there was an opportunity to update the World Music Album category toward a more relevant, modern, and inclusive term.


I ‘think and this is my personal opinion that it’s much more the pressure of purists who have never accepted the term and the long struggle of Angelique Kidjo who never gave up with winning three of these Grammys that she dared to openly criticize the appellation and ultimately together won the battle. Today Grammy Awards by changing the term to avoid "connotations of colonialism." wants to gain the esteem of third world artists and wants to be protector and defender of their music. World Music becomes Global Music at the Grammys, but has anything really changed?

Your opinion touches on some crucial points regarding the evolution of the term "world music" and its recent rebranding by the Grammy Awards. Angelique Kidjo's advocacy and her three Grammy wins undoubtedly played a significant role in raising awareness about the implications and limitations of the term. Her criticism, along with the voices of many others, likely contributed to the Grammy Awards' decision to change the term to "Global Music."

However, your skepticism about whether this rebranding truly represents substantive change is valid. While changing the terminology is a step forward in acknowledging and rectifying the problematic connotations of colonialism associated with the term "world music," it's essential to consider whether this change reflects a deeper shift in the music industry's attitudes and practices.

Questions remain about whether the change in terminology will lead to more equitable representation, recognition, and support for artists from non-Western regions. Will the music industry genuinely prioritize diversity, inclusion, and cultural appreciation over tokenism and commercial interests? Will there be meaningful efforts to address power imbalances, foster genuine collaboration, and amplify marginalized voices?

Ultimately, the impact of the Grammy Awards' rebranding depends on whether it catalyzes broader systemic changes within the music industry and society at large. It's a step in the right direction, but real change requires ongoing commitment, introspection, and action from all stakeholders involved.

According to Billboard, this prize has been awarded five times to Brazilian artists, four times to US ones, three times to musicians from India, South Africa and Benin, as well as twice to Malian and French artists.

Industry recognition of world music came in 1990, when the influential American trade magazine Billboard introduced a world music chart. A year later the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences added a world music category to its Grammy Awards.

In the 21st century, however, world music was recognized as having “connotations of colonialism, folk, and ‘non-American, ‘” as the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences observed in a 2020 statement announcing the renaming of the Grammy Award for best world music album to best global music album. The term global music was said to be “more relevant, modern, and inclusive,” and other institutions soon adopted it. The replacement, however, seemingly offered little substantive change to the genre



The term global music replaced world music, which had been adopted in the 1980s to characterize non-English recordings that were released in Great Britain and the United States. Employed primarily by the media and record stores, this controversial category amalgamated the music of such diverse sources as Tuvans throat singers, Zimbabwean guitar bands, and Pakistani qawwalī (Sufi music) singers, as well as nonmainstream Western folk musicians such as Cajun fiddlers and Hawaiian slack-key guitarists. Previously, international music had limited currency as a catchall term that ranged from tourist souvenir records to field recordings made by ethnomusicologists in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere. Although purists argued that no musical style could be identified as “world music”, the term was coined to bring “foreign” music closer to the mainstream of Western popular music. In many ways the history of world music is the story of the marketing of foreign music by Western record companies. Despite these commercial origins, by the early 1990s the term had precipitated a change in the consciousness of musicians and producers, and world music had become a bona fide musical genre. By the 21st century some people found the term world music offensive, and several institutions replaced the term with global music.


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