Evolution of the World Music Artist
Traditionally, world music artist meant any musician who created a sound out of Africa, Asia, South and Central America, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean.
In the 1980s the rapid rise in popularity of non-English popular music in the U.S. and Great Britain prompted a search for a name for this new genre. “World music” was considered a lasting and mainstream style by the early 1990s.
This genre received early endorsement by Francis Bebey, a Cameroon national living in France who boosted the profile of this rich and soulful sound. France became an appreciative market for the music industry.
The biggest stars in those early days were Fela Anikulapo Kuti and King Sunny Ade from Nigeria and Youssou N’Dour from Senegal. Just to name a few.
In the 21st century world music grew to include the Pakistani sounds of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan who artfully blended technologically sophisticated rhythmic sounds with ancient massages. The French group Gipsy Kings were performers who wove this unique texture into a popular sound of the early new century. Although they clearly don’t have anything to do with gypsies or kings, it’s a clever name.
World Music in the News
World music has its share of detractors. The New York Times published an Op-Ed piece by David Byrne of the Luaka Bop music label. Titled, I Hate World Music, Byrne wrote that describing music of other cultures as “exotic” places an unfair advantage on world music artists over others performing in more typical genres.
The BBC Radio 3 obviously thinks otherwise, hosting World Music Awards from 2005 until 2008. Beginning in 2009 the Awards were hosted by the Music Magazine Songlines.
Today people around the world, in cities large and small, have the opportunity to hear world music through dozens of festivals occurring around the world. The largest is the Ariano Folk Festival in southern Italy. One of the smallest locales is in Trumansburg in the Finger Lakes region of New York, home of our believed world music artist, Samite Mulondo.
It usually takes place annually on the second-to-last weekend of July in Trumansburg, New York (10 Mi. North of Ithaca). GrassRoots presents over 60 bands on four stages for four days, in just about every genre you could think of, with the emphasis being on world, folk and ethnic music. Watch this site for future announcements.
Check your local listings for the most recent and current dates. A quick online search should come up and provide you with that information.