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Best moments and event in the world music


                                                      My 100 best moments and event in the world music



Songlines magazine published a list in April 2018 featuring the 50 great moments in world music. I stumbled upon this list while gathering information for a lecture I was invited to present on the concept of world music. The diverse array of names and events I encountered during my research sparked my curiosity, prompting me to create my own list for fun. My list is twice the length of Songlines, which was compiled by music experts—a distinction I do not claim for myself.

My list is personal and based on my modest knowledge and experience gained from running a music store I started in the early 90's, the many artists I've booked and the many festivals I've attended. Many of you will react that there is a lack of important music actors to mention and that is certainly true. This compilation is not the result of exhaustive and university research, but rather a summary of musical events that I found interesting and influential in the history of world music.

Bob Marley features prominently in my list, reflecting his profound impact on the world stage with his participation in various events and his songs laden with political themes. His music sparked a revolution, particularly among the underprivileged in Jamaica, Africa, and beyond. Marley's legacy of creativity laid the groundwork for spreading messages of struggle, hope, justice, tolerance, love, and understanding.

My Asian friends and colleagues may notice that I have not mentioned many events and artists from their countries. This is not to imply that nothing significant has occurred in this part of the world, nor that I underestimate the importance and diversity of their cultures. Rather, it's due to my limited information about this region. Once again, this work represents only a fraction of the events that have contributed to the evolution of world music. The fact that Paris is often regarded as the capital of world music, and that the concept of world music originated in England, provides me with the opportunity to seek out more information and literature on the subject.



Music has existed in the world and been present 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. It was only 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.


Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan is the oldest festival of Hindustani Classical Music in the world, celebrated annually at the sacred site of music, the samadhi of Baba Harballabh – a saint and a prominent figure in Hindustani Classical Music. The inaugural Sammelan took place in 1875 at the Sidh Peeth-Shri Devi Talab in Jalandhar.


2 - JESSE WALTER FEWKES - The first field recording – 1890


On March 15, 1890, ethnographer Jesse Walter Fewkes became the first person to use a phonograph to record indigenous people for study. He walked out onto a field in Calais, Maine, and, using a foot treadle for power, recorded a Passamaquoddy Indian singing a salutation song. This marks the first field recording of traditional music ever made.


3 - GAUHAR JAAN - India's first ever recorded musician.

India's first recording sessions included Gauhar Jaan, singing a khayal in Raag Jogiya, recorded by Fred Gaisberg, an American musician, and recording engineer. This historical recording took place in Calcutta on November 8, 1902. Gauhar Jaan recorded more than 600 songs from 1902 to 1920 in over ten languages, including Bengali, Hindustani, Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi, Arabic, Persian, Pashto, French, and English, during her lifetime


4 - TYPICAL ORCHESTRA OF TRINIDAD – First Calypso recording.

The first recording of calypso music was an instrumental by the group Lovey's Orchestra in 1912. The first vocal recording came two years later, in 1914


5 – ERNESTO JOAQUIM MARIA DOS SANTOS - The first samba recording.

Ernesto Joaquim Maria dos Santos, better known as Donga, was a Brazilian guitarist and composer. In 1916, he composed the song "Pelo Telefone," which is considered to be the first recorded samba.



Guantanamera" is a Cuban patriotic song that derives its lyrics from a poem by the Cuban poet José Marti. The official writing credits are given to Joseíto Fernandez, who first popularized the song on radio as early as 1929. It celebrastes the woman from Guantánamo.



Said Abdullah Bamazham, of Indonesian-Arab descent, fused local styles such as kroncong with foreign styles like syncopated jazz, rumba, Hawaiian music, tango, and Arab gambus (lute). Through his gramophone recordings for HMV and later for Canary, his fame spread beyond Java, reaching Sumatra and Singapore. By 1936, Abdullah claimed to have recorded around 150 songs.



The T.V. series have played an important role in the evolution of African music. The "Golden Voices" (G.V.) Series consisted of 10-inch 78 rpm gramophone records produced in Europe and the United States from 1933 to 1958. They were exported to colonial Africa, introducing Afro-Cuban music into modern African popular culture. These records influenced African artists and contributed to the creation of some of the most successful modern musical styles in West, Central, and East Africa, such as rumba, salsa, cha-cha-cha, benga, and bolero."



The First Congress of Arab Music was a significant international symposium and music festival convened by King Fuad I in Cairo, Egypt, from March 14 to April 3, 1932. The congress served as the inaugural large-scale forum to present, discuss, document, and record the diverse musical traditions of the Arab world, spanning from North Africa to the Middle East.


10 - PEREZ PRADO – The King of Mambo

The "Mambo" dance is attributed to Perez Prado who introduced this style at” La Tropicana night-club” in Havana (Cuba) in 1943.



Ngoma was one of the first record labels aimed at providing local African music to the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The name Ngoma comes from the Kikongo word for drum. The label was founded in 1948 by the Greek businessman Nicolas Jéronimidis and remained active until 1968. Its catalog featured many renowned artists of the time, including Camille Feruzi, who is credited with popularizing rumba during the 1930s, Antoine Wendo Kolosoy, one of the most prominent figures in Congolese music history, as well as the Angolan Manuel d'Oliveira, Léon Bukasa, Antoine Mundanda, and Paul Mwanga."


12 - LÉA SAUVIA - First Arab store in Paris

Madame Sauviat opened her music store on Boulevard de la Chapelle in Paris in 1946. She quickly realized that the North African workers in the neighborhood constituted an interesting clientele. Consequently, she rapidly developed the Arab music market. A few years later, the store became the essential destination for Arab and African music records in Paris. The store still exists today, run by her grandchildren



"In 1956, E. T. Mensah performed at a packed Accra stadium alongside Louis Armstrong. Armstrong's visit to Ghana was perceived as moral support for the country on its path to independence, which was achieved on March 6, 1957. Mensah's hit song "All for You," performed in honor of Armstrong, brought the Ghanaian artist fame beyond continental borders and elevated highlife music to the status of African urban music symbol in England and the United States."


14 - JOSEPH KABASELE – The man who modernized the Rumba.

Indépendance Cha Cha" was a song performed by Joseph Kabasele, best known by his stage name Le Grand Kallé, from the group L'African Jazz. The song has been described as "Kabasele's most memorable" and one of the first Pan-African hits. The song, written on January 20, 1960, was first played at the Hotel Plaza in Brussels on January 27, 1960, to celebrate the independence of Congo from colonial Belgium.            


15 - ASTOR PIAZOLLA - Modernized the tango.

Astor Pantaleón Piazzolla, is an Argentine musician, a virtuoso on the bandoneón (a square-built button accordion), who left the traditional tango bands in 1955 to create a new modern tango.



As the Cuban revolution raged in 1960, Celia (who was touring in concert in Mexico at the time) made the decision not to return to her country. In 1961, she moved to the U.S. and married the trumpet player Pedro Knight. Fidel Castro was so enraged by Cruz’s defection that he barred her from returning to Cuba. Celia has never returned to her homeland since that time.


17 - ROBERT EDWARD "Bob" Brown - world music program.

The ethnomusicologist Robert Brown is credited with being the first to use the term "world music" by the early 1960s. He attributes the inspiration for the phrase to his experiences in the late 1950s in the pioneering ethnomusicology program directed by Mantle Hood at the University of California, Los Angeles. Alongside David McAllester, Robert Brown established the World Music Program at Wesleyan University in 1965.


18 – ASTRUD GILBERTO – The girl from Ipanema.

Astrud Gilberto, the singer of 'The Girl from Ipanema,' helped bring bossa nova music into the mainstream. The song is a Brazilian bossa nova and jazz classic. It became a worldwide hit in the mid-1960s and won a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965. Written in 1962, the music was composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim with lyrics by Vinícius de Moraes. The first commercial recording was made in 1962 by Pery Ribeiro."



In 1963, ten Malian students travelled to Havana to study Cuban music, led by Boncana Maïga. During their time in Cuba, they formed a band that they named Les Maravillas of Mali Inspired by the music of Orquesta Aragón and Orquesta Maravillas de Florida; the African band toured throughout the island and appeared on Cuban TV. They recorded their first album in the legendary Egrem studio, where renowned Cuban musicians such as Celia Cruz, Chucho Valdés, and Omara Portuondo also recorded. The Maravillas of Mali were received by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara during their stay in Cuba."


20 -LEO SARKISIAN - The Voice of America - 1965

Leo Sarkisian (January 4, 1921 – June 8, 2018) was an American ethnomusicologist and broadcaster for Voice of America radio. He is known for his work to showcase African music through the Music Time in his African radio program.



Hassan Mégri was the founder and creator of the “Mégri Musical Movement”, which resulted in the creation of the “Arab World Music” which was non-existent in the time of the Beatles, Elvis Presley and the giants of Western Music.

Lili Touil” (Long is my Night) from the Mégri repertoire, would obviously be the first Arabic song to be translated and performed successfully in English and French. These are “Children of Paradis” by Bonny M and “Pont de Musique” by the French singer Maria Dorossi.

22 - MULATU ASTAKE - The man who created Ethio jazz

Mulatu Astatke is an innovative multi-talented musician, composer, arranger and the founder of Ethio Jazz. Born in Jimma, Ethiopia, Mulatu Astatke studied at Lindisfarne College and Trinity College of Music in England and Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA. As a vibraphone, conga and percussion player, he has performed at numerous concerts in Ethiopia and abroad, including appearances at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Lincoln Center in New York, Beethoven-Haus in Bonn and Barbican Center in London.



Fania Records is a New York based record label founded by Dominican-born composer, organiser, bandleader and producer Johnny Pacheco and Brooklyn born Italian-American lawyer Jerry Masucci in 1964. Among Fania's signature stars was: Willie Colon, Celia Cruz, Larry Harlow, Ray Barretto, Ralfi Pagan, Luis "Perico" Ortiz, Bobby Valentín, Rubén Blades, Héctor Lavoe, Cheo Feliciano, Adalberto Santiago, Ismael Miranda.


24 - MERIAM MAKEBA - Pata Pata


In 1966, Miriam Makeba became the first African woman to win an American Grammy, for an album along with Harry Belafonte.  She was the first artist from Africa to popularize African music around the world and she is most known for the song "Pata Pata", first recorded in 1957 and released in the U.S. in 1967.


25 - FESTMAN FESTIVAL 1966 – Lagos - Nigeria

The First World Festival of Black Arts was held in Dakar, Senegal, 1–24 april 1966, followed by Festac '77 in Lagos (Nigeria) In 1977 and the Pan-African Cultural Festival in Algiers in July 1969.


26 - TROPICALIA - Brazil

Tropicália was a revolutionary movement of subversion and beauty that swept Brazil in the late 1960s. Its participants formed a large collective, with stars including the singer-songwriters Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, along with Gal Costa, Nara Leão, Tom Zé, Torquato Neto, and the band Mutantes.



Mikis Theodorakis, born in 1925, has composed over 1000 songs and gave his first concert as early as 1942. In addition to "Zorba" (1964), he was behind the film music for "Z - He Lives" (1969) and "Serpico" (1973). He was imprisoned and tortured for his opposition against the brutal rule of the Greek junta from 1967 to 1974. After a period of four years in exile (1970 – 1974), he returned to the country and served in the parliament.


28 - VIOLETA PARRA - Gracias a la vida

"Gracias a la vida" is a song composed and first performed by Chilean musician Violeta Parra, one of the artists who set the basis for the movement, known as Nueva Canción. Parra composed "Gracias a la vida" in La Paz in 1966. The song was released on Las Últimas Composiciones, the last album Parra published before committing suicide in 1967.

The song is one of Parra's most renowned and is performed throughout the world, and remains as one of the most covered Latin American songs in history.


29 – OUM KALTOUM - Paris concert 1967

On November 14, 1967, Oum Kalthoum performed the only concert in Europe of her career. The sold-out event remains legendary in the history of Arabic music. French President General De Gaulle sent her a congratulatory message after the concert, in which he wrote: “I felt in your voice the vibrations of my heart and the hearts of all French people”.



1968 Johnny Pacheco and Jerry Masucci create the Fania All Stars, a group of salsa with emerging artists as Willie Colón, Larry Harlow, Celia Cruz, Hector Lavoe, Cheo Felicano, Ismael Miranda, and Justo Betancourt.


31 - BRIAN JONES - The Pipes of Pan at Joujouka

Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka is an album produced by Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. The album features recordings of the Moroccan group the Master Musicians of Joujouka, captured during a performance on July 29, 1968, in the village of Joujouka, Morocco. The album is considered as one of the first albums of what later became known as 'world music' to enter the pop mainstream.


32 - GIL GILBERTO AND VELOSO - Arrested & Exiled

On 27 December 1968, Gil Gilberto and Veloso were both arrested in February 1969 on the orders of the military junta. They were held in prison for three months without charge or trial, and after a further four months under house arrest, they were released on condition that they leave the country. They spent the next few years in exile in the UK.


33 - FESTIVAL PANAFRICAIN – Algiers – 1969

The Pan-African Cultural Festival was held in Algiers (Algeria) as a celebration of African identity and culture as well as an occasion to unite and promote interaction between liberation movements, and an opportunity for the Algerian government to promote the newly independent country. The Pan-African Cultural Festival was the third important festival after FESTMAN in Dakar (Senegal) and Festac '77 in Lagos (Nigeria) in Africa.


34 - ERNESTO DJEDJE - The King of Ziglibilty.

Ernesto Djédjé created his own music style called Ziglibithy in the 1970s, which was a fusion of soul, funk, and makossa. He died under mysterious circumstances on June 9th, 1983, at the age of 35, shocking the entire Ivorian nation. During his lifetime, Ernesto released a total of 5 albums.


35 - SANTANA - Abraxas – 1970

Abraxas, Santana's second album, achieved platinum status with hit songs like "Oye Como Va" and "Black Magic Woman," which popularized the band's unique blend of blues, salsa, and African rhythms. Regarded as one of the greatest Latin rock albums of its time, it soared to number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. With this album, Santana effectively paved the way for the seventies salsa movement and the broader explosion of Latin music.


36 – RAVI SHANKAR - The Godfather of world music

Pandit Ravi Shankar was an Indian musician and composer, best known for popularizing the Indian classical instrument sitar all over the world. The concert he gave in August 1969, alongside rock superstars such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Bob Dylan at the Woodstock Festival, his collaboration with George Harrison in 1966, and his participation in the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971, earned Ravi Shankar the title of "Godfather of World Music



Osibisa are a Ghanaian-British Afro-rock band founded in London in the late 1960s by four expatriate West African and three London based Caribbean musician.

Osibisa were the most successful and longest lived of the African-heritage bands in London, alongside such contemporaries as Assagai, Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, Demon Fuzz, Black Velvet and Noir. They were largely responsible for the establishment of world music and Afro-Rock as a marketable genre in the UK.


38 – RAVI SHANKAR, ALI AKBAR KHAN, ALLAH RAKHA - Bangladesh Concert 1971

On August 1st, 1971, the Concert for Bangladesh, organized by George Harrison to aid victims of famine and war in Bangladesh, took place at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Three of the most prestigious Indian artists, Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, and Allah Rakha, performed together for the first time alongside superstars such as Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell, Billy Preston, Eric Clapton, Badfinger, and more, in front of over 40,000 people.


39 – SOUL TO SOUL - Accra 1971

On March 6, 1971, the Soul To Soul concert brought together the best Ghanaian and American musicians in Accra for the 14th anniversary of the country's independence.  Roberta Flack, Ike & Tina Turner, Wilson Pickett, the voices of East Harlem, Santana, featuring Willie Bobo, Les McCann and Eddie Harris offering a historic musical encounter between two continents.


40 - GINGER BAKER mete Fela Kuti in Lagos

In November 1971, Ginger Baker, the legendary drummer of Cream and Blind Faith, decided to establish a recording studio in Lagos, the capital of Nigeria. Baker was one of the first rock musicians to recognize the potential of African music. He recorded the album 'Live!' with Fela Kuti's band Africa '70 on July 25, 1971, in Lagos, Nigeria.


41 – JACQUES BIZOLLON – The man who produced more than 1500 artists

Jacques Bizollon, a French producer, has produced over 1,300 artists since the 1970s at his JBZ studio in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Iconic musicians such as Oumou Sangaré, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Youssou N’Dour, and Miriam Makeba have all recorded albums in his studio. Additionally, Tinariwen recorded their first cassette tape here, and Alpha Blondy's debut album, 'Brigadier Sabari,' was also produced at JBZ.



Ahmed Hachlaf was an Algerian artistic director responsible for the Oriental repertoire at Pathé-Marconi in 1947. He was a radio host, producer, and historian of Franco-Algerian Arab music. In 1972, he and his brother founded the record company Le Club du Disque Arabe, making more than five thousand Arabic songs available worldwide. He curated the most significant and extensive catalog of Arabic music, featuring artists such as Oum Kalthoum, Abdelwahab, Asmahan, and Farid El Atrache.


43 – VICTOR JARA – Assassination, 1973

Víctor Jara, born Víctor Lidio Jara Martínez, was a Chilean folk singer and one of the pioneers of the nueva canción genre, known for politically charged popular songs in Latin America. His activism led to his torture and execution by the regime of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet on September 16, 1973, in Santiago. The shocking assassination of Víctor Jara in 1973 turned him into a powerful symbol not only for the struggle of the Chilean people but also for the entire Latin American continent."


44 – FANIA ALL STARS - in Africa at the Yankee Stadium.

Friday, August 24, 1973 was a historic day for Latin music. Fania All Stars dumped 40,000 screaming fans into New York's Yankee Stadium for a night to remember. A year later, in 1974, the group drew twice that audience, with 80,000 attending at Kinshasa stadium in Zaire.


45 - CHRIS BLACKWELL - Internationalized the reggae music

Chris Blackwell, the co-founder of Island Records, is credited with discovering and introducing Bob Marley and reggae music to the world. The album he produced, 'Catch a Fire,' in April 1973 marked the beginning of a significant journey in reggae music history. His contributions were recognized with the Polar Music Prize in 2023."


46 - PAUL MC CARTNEY – Recording in LAGOS

McCartney's fifth album, Band on the Run, was indeed recorded at EMI's studio in Lagos, Nigeria. While this event may not be considered one of the biggest in music history, the fact that a global star like Paul McCartney visited an African country, met Fela Kuti in his hometown, and visited his club, The Shrine, in Lagos was significant. This encounter sparked curiosity among the public and media, introducing them to Fela and his music.


47 – ZAIRE 74

Zaire 74 was intended to precede 'the fight of the century' between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa. This musical marathon brought together the finest artists from Zaire and North America, including James Brown, B.B. King, Bill Withers, and the Spinners, the Fania All Stars led by Johnny Pacheco, and the incredible Celia Cruz, from September 22 to 24, 1974. The event aimed to celebrate the reunion between Africa and its diaspora..


48 -IDIR – Avava Inouva – modernised the Algerian music

Idir, an icon of Algerian music, gained worldwide acclaim in the 1970s with his hit song 'A Vava Inouva'. The song was broadcasted in 77 countries and translated into fifteen languages. It played a significant role in opening doors to the modernization and internationalization of Algerian music, especially Kabyle music."


49 - BIJELO DUGME – Historic concert

Bijelo Dugme's concert at Hajdučka česma in Košutnjak Park in Belgrade on August 22, 1977, drew an audience of around 80,000 people. This rock music event not only left its mark on the decade but also on Yugoslav rock history in general.


50 – DON CHERRY - The world music globetrotter

Nomadic wanderer, cosmic explorer, and blithe spirit, pocket trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist Don Cherry were all these and more. Part of the revolutionary free movement with Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, and Coltrane, Don showed up everywhere in the world of music, literally and figuratively. Don incorporated during his travels instruments and vibrations from all places of the world during decades before marketing people coined the term World Music.



In the mid-1970s, Françoise Gründ and Cherif Khaznadar founded the Festival des Arts Traditionnels in the city of Rennes, where they showcased traditional artists from around the world. One notable act at the festival was Les Tambours du Burundi, a percussion band. Their performance caught the attention of Mark Kidel and Thomas Broman, who later invited the drummers to perform at the first WOMAD festival they organized in London in 1982.


52 – AHL NANA - Pioneer of the Desert blues?

The Ahl Nana band is credited as one of the pioneering groups in the development of Desert blues style. They transformed Sahara folk music into a modern, cosmopolitan sound by incorporating Western instruments such as the electric guitar. Their innovative approach paved the way for subsequent artists like Ali Farka Touré, Tinariwen, Mdou Moctar, Bombino, and many others.


53 – SIN SISAMOUTH - The King of Khmer Music.

King of Khmer music" Sinn Sisamouth is considered to be the pioneer of Cambodian rock, blending the characteristics of traditional Khmer music with other genres, such as rock and roll and rhythm & blues.


54 – PRINCE NICO MBARGA – The man who invented the Panko style

1976, Prince Nico Mbarga invents the "panko” a fusion between the Cameroonian and Nigerian rhythms, doped with the energy of James Brown. Sweet Mother, sung in pidgin, was the first African hit and runs to 16 million copies on the continent.


55 - FESTAC '77

The Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, best known as FESTAC ’77, took place in Lagos, Nigeria, from January 12 to February 15, 1977.

56 – THE ONE LOVE PEACE CONCERT - 22 april 1978

Bob Marley brought together the leaders of Jamaica's warring political parties as a showing of unity at the One Love Peace Concert. It was a historic moment for Jamaican music which led to Bob being awarded the United Nations Peace Medal. In addition to the performance of Bob Marley, joined Peter Tosh, Jacob Miller, Dennis Brown, Big Youth, Beres Hammond, Culture, Junior Tucker or Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus.


57- ABIDJAN – the first Capital of the African music

The country's stability and prosperity, coupled with its thriving cocoa economy, and its many modern clubs and studios, attracted the majority of African artists to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in the 1970s and 1980s. De Rochereau in Fela, Manu Dibango, Rail Band, Les Ambassadeurs, Laba Sosseh, Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, Horoya Band and Sam Mangwana, performed in Abidjan, which has gradually become the capital of African music.


58 – MIKEY HART - First world music Grammy

 Mike Hart is a man who has made significant contributions to the discovery and promotion of world music. He won the first Grammy for World Music in 1991. Since the seventies, he has collaborated with and produced famous artists such as Zakir Hussain, Hamza El Din, Babatunde Olatunji, Ustad Sultan Khan, and the Gyuto Monks. He organized a memorial concert on September 16, 1978, in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza, with the Sudanese oud player Hamza El Din as a guest


59 - MAMADOU KONTÉ - Africa fête

Mamadou Konte founded the Africa Fête music festival in 1978 in France, where he lived as a French Malian worker. During the 1980s, Africa Fête was the unmissable event for the African diaspora. Many famous artists of today launched their careers from the festival, such as Youssou Ndour, Baaba Maal, Manu Dibango, Touré Kunda, Angélique Kidjo, and Djamal Allem.


60 - RÅLAMBSHOVSPARK - World music festival - 1979

A festival held in Rålambshovspark (Sweden) in 1979 was renamed the World Music Festival. Additionally, in 1982 in Skanska Tågarp (Sweden), the first and only issue of a world music magazine was published.


61 - AHMAD ZAHIR – The rocker of Kabul

Ahmad Zahir is widely considered the all-time greatest singer of Afghanistan. He was tragically killed in a car crash near the Salang Pass. His only daughter, Shabnam, was also born that day. While a car accident is the 'official' line, many Afghans believe that he was shot in the head, allegedly murdered by the communist regime. His music blended folk music, Persian literature, Indian classical music, and Western pop and rock styles."


62 - BOB MARLEY Celebrating Zimbabwe's independence.

Bob Marley, Thomas Mapfumo, and Osibisa were among the great artists who participated in the gigantic concert in Harare, Zimbabwe, on April 18, 1980, to celebrate Zimbabwe's independence. Representatives from 100 countries, including 11 heads of state, traveled to Zimbabwe for the celebrations."



Jean-François Bizot was a French journalist and the founder of the magazine Actuel and Radio Nova in 1981. He is mainly credited with the creation of the term SONO MONDIALE, which is the equivalent of the English term WORLD MUSIC. SONO MONDIALE is better accepted than the term WORLD MUSIC.


64 - FELA KUTI - Pantin concert 1981

Fela Anikulapo Kuti (15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997) was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist. He is best known as a pioneer of the Afrobeat genre, a blend of traditional Yoruba and Afro-Cuban music with funk and jazz. According to Martin Meissonnier, Fela was the catalyst for world music. The concert he gave in Paris in 1981 at Porte de Pantin, which gathered 10,000 people, marked the beginning of the rise of world music in France."


65 - KASSAV - The birth of Zouk music

The band Kassav was formed in 1979 by Guadeloupeans Pierre-Edouard Décimus and Jacob F. Desvarieux joined later by Jocelyne. They broke through in 1981 with the song "Love and Ka Dance and thus create the music genre Zouk. The band has collected many gold and platinum records made sixty Zenith concerts and still continue to fill stadiums all around the world. Kassav' is a phenomenon comparable to that of the Rolling Stones, both in its longevity (forty years of stage) and in its global impact.



At a concert in La Plata in 1979, Sosa was searched and arrested on stage, along with all those attending the concert. Their release came about through international intervention. Banned in her own country, she moved to Paris and then to Madrid. Sosa returned to Argentina from her exile in Europe in 1982.


67 – PAN RON

Pan Ron was one of the most popular singers of her era and is still revered today by the vast majority of Cambodians. She is heralded as having one of the most versatile voices the music business has ever seen. Only Sinn Sisamouth’s vocals beat Pan Ron’s popularity in Cambodia. She disappeared during the Khmer Rouge genocide, and her fate is unknown."


68 - BARBES ROCHECOUART - The heart of the world music market


Starting in the 1980s, Boulevard de la Chapelle was transformed into a vibrant record market, with at least twenty record stores and music companies settling in and engaging in selling, producing, importing, and distributing music records. All of them specialized in Arabic, African music, reggae, zouk, and Indian music. Barbès has become over the years the epicenter of world music in Europe."



In 1982, the independent Celluloid label was among the first to bridge the gap between immigrant and indigenous European markets, selling more than 300,000 albums by the Senegalese group Touré Kunda with the success of the album 'E'mma. Africa' witch had a mix of reggae and funk sounds.         The French producer Gilbert Castro explains the success. “Touré Kunda made a mixture that was more accessible to rock, jazz, and pop audiences. The blend caused a breakthrough, attracting a new audience. The album, featuring acoustic, electric, and traditional elements, popularized Touré Kunda's music, establishing them as pioneers of world music,"


70 - WOMAD – 1982

WOMAD was founded in 1980 by English rock musician Peter Gabriel, along with Thomas Brooman, Bob Hooton, Mark Kidel, Stephen Pritchard, Martin Elbourne, and Jonathan Arthur. The first WOMAD festival took place in Shepton Mallet, UK, in 1982. The audience witnessed performances by Peter Gabriel, Don Cherry, The Beat, Drummers of Burundi, Echo & The Bunnymen, Imrat Khan, Prince Nico Mbarga, Peter Hammill, Simple Minds, Suns of Arqa, The Chieftains, and Ekome National Dance Company, founded by Barrington, Angie, Pauline, and Lorna Anderson, the pioneering African arts company in the UK, among others.


71 - CARTE DE SEJOUR - Birth of the Arabic – Rock – Punk music.

Carte de Séjour was founded in 1980 by Rachid Taha, Djamel Dif, Mokhtar  Amini, Mohamed Amini and Éric Vaquer. Jérôme Savy, former guitarist of the French garage rock band Arsenic, replaced Vaquer sometime later. The band's name was a reference to the residence card carried by immigrants in France. The group created the first Arabic-Rock band in 1980, included in its repertoire pop, rock, punk rock, to their North African music. They were influenced by the Clash, James Brown, and Iggy Pop,


72 – STERNS - African record centre – 1982

Sterns record shop was launched by three music lovers, Don Bayramian, Robert Urbanus, and Charles Easmon in London. The record shop is located on Warren Street in London. Since its launch in 1982, it has been the epicenter of the African music scene. Sterns is also the first British record label to release recordings by Salif Keita, Youssou N'Dour, Franco & OK Jazz, and gradually hundreds of other artists.


73 – MANU DIBANGO - Soul Makossa

Although his big breakthrough as a solo artist came in 1972 with the hit "Soul Makossa", he had already been performing for 20 years in Africa, Belgium and France. Soul Makossa, is the most sampled African song in history.



The French producer Gilbert Mousset was one of the first festival promoters to be thanked for bringing African artists to his festival, Musiques Métisses, in the early 1980s. Amazones de Guinée, Super Biton, Salif Keita, Thomas Mapfumo, Miriam Makeba, Mory Kanté, and Johnny Clegg were among the first artists to be invited to his festival in the early 80s.


75 - KING SUNNY ADE – The King of Juju music.

The clearest sign of the growing interest in African music was the success of Nigerian juju band leader King Sunny Ade, whose first two internationally released albums for Island Records sold more than 100,000 copies each in the United States in 1983–84. The album 'Juju Music' was a critical and commercial success, peaking at 111 on Billboard's 'Pop Albums' chart. The New York Times described the album in 1982 as 'the year's freshest dance-music album' and credited it in 1990 with having launched the 'World Beat movement' in the United States."


76 - DAN DEL SANTO - Birth of world beat

DAN DEL SANTO is claimed to have coined the term 'world beat' in the US. World beat was a new genre of music, mixing rock, hip hop, soul, and funk with African and Caribbean influences that Dan Del Santo experimented with in his album 'World Beat'.



Ibrahima Sylla (2 April 1956 – 30 December 2013) was a Senegalese record producer born in Ivory Coast and founder of the African music label Syllart Records. He helped bring African music to a worldwide audience in the 1980s. Sylla's record shop near Gare du Nord in Paris was a key meeting point for African workers and immigrants in the 80s, which I visited many times.


78 - PABLO MILANES – SILVIO RODRIGUEZ – Historical concert - 03 april 1984

The two most emblematic singers of Cuba came to Argentina for the first time in 1984, for en historical concert in the Estadio Obras Sanitarias de la ciudad de Buenos Aires


79 -TAM TAM for Ethiopia

In 1984, when the terrible famine broke out in Ethiopia, Manu Dibango initiated a project for a maxi 45 rpm titled 'Tam-Tam for Ethiopia,' bringing together around thirty African musicians and singers. Manu Dibango, M'Bamina, King Sunny Ade, Salif Keita, Touré Kunda, Mory Kanté, Ghetto Blaster, Souzy Kasseya, Ray Lema, and Tony Allen took part in the project."


80 - SOS RACISME - Paris concert - 1985

On June 15, 1985, at the initiative of the association SOS Racisme, a large concert took place at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, described as a 'multiracial musical festival.' For the first time in France, bands and artists from Africa, the Maghreb, Haiti, and Jamaica such as Nass El Ghiwane, Malavoi, Karim Kacel, Djurdjura, Steel Pulse, and many others played side by side with French artists in front of a mixed audience (French and immigrant). The barrier of marginalization was broken at that point, and a new spirit of demand for equality, justice, and fraternity was born.


81 - NUSRAT FATEH ALI KHAN at WOMAD - July 20, 1985

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was invited to the WOMAD Festival in 1985. The legendary Qawwali singer performed for the first time in front of a mainly non-Asian audience. After his performance at the festival, he became internationally known one and he is today counted among the greatest and most beloved world music artists of all time. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan died at the age of just 48 on 16th August, 1997



Founded in 1985, WMI grew out of a concert series at the Alternative Museum in NYC in the mid-1980s by founders Robert and Helene Browning that provided a showcase for a richly diverse mix of world music styles in an intimate, accessible setting, which also provided a platform for many young American experimental artists to share their music with the world.



Artists United Against Apartheid was a 1985 protest group founded by activist and performer Little Steven and record producer Arthur Baker to protest against apartheid in South Africa. Many world music artists such as Ray Barretto, Jimmy Cliff, Big Youth, Ravi Shankar, Ruben Blades, Sonny Okosuns, Lakshminarayana Shankar, participated alongside Bob Dylan, Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Ringo Starr, Bob Geldof, Lou Reed, Herbie Hancock, and more.


84 - FRANCO - Mario

Franco is best known for being one of the "masters" of Congolese rumba. He was part of the group OK Jazz ("Orchestre Kinshasa Jazz"), which later became TP OK Jazz ("Tout Puissant Orchestre Kinshasa Jazz"), accompanied by singers Josky Kiambukuta and Ntesa Dalienst, guitarists Simaro Lutumba and Papa Noel, as well as saxophonist Verckys Kiamuangana Mateta, among other musicians. The motto of the group was "On Entre OK, On Sort KO."

He is considered one of the founders of contemporary Congolese music and is sometimes referred to as the "Guitar Sorcerer."


85 - PAUL SIMON - Graceland

Paul Simon's visits to South Africa were widely criticized for breaking the cultural boycott of apartheid-era South Africa. The visit resulted in a Grammy for the album "Graceland" in 1986. The album, though criticized, is thought to have helped bring African music to a global audience and break the apartheid barrier against African artists. It opened doors for South African artists and served as a wake-up call to the world.


86 - RAI FESTIVAL - Bobigny - France - 1986

The first Raï festival outside of its country of origin, Algeria, took place in Bobigny, in the suburbs of Paris, on January 23, 1986. The festival allowed artists like Cheikha Rimitti, Khaled, Cheb Mami, Raina Rai, and Cheikha Remitti to become internationally known and to spread Raï music all over the world, similar to what Bob Marley did for reggae.



The Falun Folk Music Festival (FFF), formerly known as the Falu Folk Music Festival, was first organized in 1986 in Falun, located in northern Sweden. It was the first major event of its kind in the Nordic countries. Artists such as Flaco Jimenez (USA), Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar (India), Hilife (Uganda/Sweden), Orientexpressen & Kostadin Varimezov (Sweden/Bulgaria), Domna Samiou with ensemble (Greece), Ziya Aytekin (Turkey) , Klezmorim (USA), Boys of the Lough (UK), Helsingby Spelmän (Finland), Marianne Tomasgård, Bjarne Överbö (Norway) and Rejseorkestret (Denmark) participated in the first edition.


88 - CLUB BALLATOU - Montréal

Lamine Touré is one of the most important figures on the world music scene. In 1986, he opened Montreal’s club Ballatou on Saint-Laurent Boulevard and founded the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique (FINA) one year later. The festival, dedicated to African and Caribbean cultures, has become a not-to-be-missed event on Quebec’s cultural scene and has built an enviable reputation worldwide.


89 – MULTIKULTI – First world music store in Sweden

Multikulti was located on St. Paulsgatan, near Götgatan in Stockholm, Sweden. The store was the first record store to specialize in World Music, with sections for books, spices, and exotic instruments. It closed its doors in 2011. The store was started in 1986 by Steve Roney, an Englishman who came to Sweden in the 1960s


90 – MORY KANTÉ - Yé ké yé ké

Yé ké yé ké" is a song by Guinean recording artist Mory Kanté. Released in 1987, the song was one of Africa's best-selling hits at that time, making it the first African single to sell over one million copies. The commercial success of "Yéké Yéké" encouraged record companies to support African artists, playing an important role in the promotion of African popular music and contributing to the craze for "world music”.


91 – BHUNDU BOYS - NME Cover

The Bhundu Boys from Zimbabwe were among the first bands of what we now call world music. They were the first African band to make an appreciable impact on the cover of NME in February 1987. They were praised by Eric Clapton and Elvis Costello, and Madonna asked them to be her support act at Wembley Stadium in 1987.


92 – ALI FARKA TOURÉ – To London

Ali farka Touré made his first concert i England and recorded his first album at the Fire House studio, London on October, 1987 produced by the label World circuit.


93 – THE INTIFADA 1987

Recorded in Jerusalem in 1987, Riad Awwad's protest album is part ode to the beauty of homeland, part historical document of the Palestinian struggle, and part instruction manual for revolution.


94 – EMPRESS OF RUSSIA - Birth of the world music label - 1987

The term "world music" was coined for the first time on July 13, 1987, during a meeting at the Empress of Russia pub in Islington, North London, as a marketing term. It was coined to bring "foreign" music closer to the mainstream of Western popular music. The meeting was masterminded by Ben Mandelson and Roger Armstrong from Globestyle Records, along with other record label executives, promoters, festival organizers, DJs, and journalists.



The first world music compilation cassette was launched year 1987. It contains 19 artists including Salif Keita, Nadjma Akhtar, Ofra Haza, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abdelaziz Moubarek, Sasono Mulyo, Ketama, Zouk Time, Jali Musa Jawara, Sidiki Diabate, and Dilika.


96 - CESARIA EVORA – Concert in the new morning

Cesaria Evora released "La diva aux pieds nus" in 1988 and performed for the first time at New Morning in Paris on October 1, 1988. The diva had great success in the 90s. She won a 2003 Grammy Award for her album "Voz d'amor."


97 – AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL - Human Rights Now! Tour

The Human Rights Now! tour was a twenty-concert world tour held over a six-week period in September–October 1988. The tour commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is the virtual manifesto of Amnesty International's mission. The tour starred Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Sting, and Peter Gabriel, along with Tracy Chapman and Youssou N'Dour.


98 – GIPSY KINGS - Bamboleo - 1987


The song Bamboleo from the band Gipsy King became a worldwide mega-hit in 1988, selling more than 20 million albums.



Rubén Blades, one of the most successful vocalists and songwriters in Panamanian music and salsa history, produced the famous album "Siembra" in 1988 with Willie Colón, another salsa pioneer. The album has been called the "Sergeant Pepper of salsa," after the Beatles’ famous album. It has sold over 25 million copies and included the track "Pedro Navaja," a song that would make Blades a superstar across Latin America.

100 - NELSON MANDELA - 70th Birthday Tribute


The Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute was a popular music concert staged on June 11, 1988, at Wembley Stadium, London, and broadcast to 67 countries with an audience of 600 million. It marked the forthcoming 70th birthday (July 18, 1988) of the imprisoned anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela. Hugh Masekela, Youssou N'Dour, Miriam Makeba, Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens, Salif Keita, the Farafina Drummers, Sly & Robbie, Aswad, and Jonas Gwangwa took part in the celebration.



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

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