World Music: Most Popular Articles
What's the difference between a fiddle and a violin? Well, as the old joke would have it,
Bob Marley died of cancer at age 36. Some controversy surrounds his death, though, as it seems that his cancer may have been curable. So why did Bob Marley die?
These well-known gems of vintage French pop music, like Coco Chanel's little black dress, are perennially chic, and they go with everything.
Many adults would like to learn to play a musical instrument, but aren't sure where to start or how to choose which instrument to play. There are lots of factors to take into consideration when choosing a new musical instrument. Here are some things that can help you choose a musical instrument to play and enjoy for years!
Bob Marley had both adopted and biological children with several partners, but how many were there in total?
: Why Did Bob Marley Smoke Marijuana? The iconic image of Bob Marley is a photograph of him smoking a
Bob Marley was undoubtedly the most influential Jamaican musician of all time. His popularity was widespread, and continues to be so, 25 years after his death. Learn more about this legend of reggae music.
Bob Marley is best-known for his songs about social issues, peace, justice, and revolution, but Bob Marley also wrote and performed dozens of beautiful love songs. Read on for some of the best love songs that Bob Marley ever wrote.
Au Clair de la Lune is an early French folksong, which dates back to at least the mid-18th century. The earliest known recording of the human voice is of an unknown woman singing Au Clair de la Lune.
Bob Marley was well-known for his songs of protest and social change. Here are ten of his best.
Reggae music, Jamaica's best-known export, is a genre that got its start in Kingston in the 1960s, and was brought to popularity by artists like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh
Jamaican music is some of the most popular music in the world. Trailblazers like Bob Marley put the music of Jamaica on the map, but the history of Jamaican music is peppered with hundreds of amazing artists and dozens of amazing genres. Learn more about Jamaican music!
New to music festivals? Been going to them for awhile, but still think your stay could be more comfortable? Use this handy checklist to remind yourself of things you need to make your music festival experience the best it can be.
Why are bagpipes customarily played at funerals of police officers, firefighters, soldiers and other state figures? What is the history of funeral bagpipes?
Edith Piaf recorded masterpiece after masterpiece from the beginning of her career to the end, and nearly
A collection of quotations from songs written by Bob Marley on the subjects of religion and spirituality, and more specifically, Rastafarianism.
Learn more about the Rastafarian religious beliefs and practices of reggae legend Bob Marley.
Ska music is by far one of the most popular genres of world music. Ska music has been through several incarnations, from traditional Jamaican ska to second-wave two-tone ska and finally American third-wave ska, which fused ska and punk music.
Essential Recordings of "Danny Boy": Tommy Fleming - Listen/Download Celtic Woman - Listen/Download The
Ziggy Marley was born to Bob and Rita Marley in 1968, and grew up to become a successful reggae musician in his own right.
Need some soul-stirring South African gospel to add to your musical mix? Look here!
Quick Biography: Israel "Bruddah IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole was born on May 20, 1959, on the island of Oahu,
Fado is Portugal's answer to jazz -- an urban genre of folk music that sprang up in a port city where folks from many walks of life and ethnic backgrounds intermingled. It's beautiful and sad and absolutely worth your time to explore. Here are some CDs to get you started.
The musical traditions of Ireland are among the world's most beloved. If you're a beginner to the genre, check out these wonderful Irish music starter CDs!
Want to build up a collection of flamenco music? Start with these ten great discs from artists both classic and contemporary.
The five best compilations and collections of Bob Marley's music on the market.
The Banana Boat Song, also known as Day-O, is a traditional Jamaican mento song that was popularized by Calypso folksinger Harry Belafonte in the 1960s. Learn the lyrics and history of the Banana Boat Song!
A collection of quotations drawn from Bob Marley's song lyrics, focusing on love, family, and relationships.
Kenyan music is very diverse, much like the country of Kenya. This Kenyan music playlist highlights some of the different sounds that make up Kenya's musical soundscape.
A reader wrote in to ask about the difference between ska and reggae. Read on and find out the answer!
Zydeco music, and its close relative, Cajun music, is one of the most exciting and vibrant genres of world music in the world. Zydeco is the bluesy, highly syncopated music of the French speaking Creole people of Southwest Louisiana. Learn more about Zydeco!
Think you're a reggae fan? If you don't have these ten classics in your collection, you'd better think again... or at least load them into your iPod quickly, before anyone notices that they're not there. From international hits to influential Rastafarian anthems, these ten songs are crucial pieces of any reggae collection.
If you like Irish New Age Singer Enya, you might also like Loreena McKennitt, Sissel, Enigma and Maire Brennan, as well as some of these other New Age artists.
Want to know some fun and interesting trivia about Bob Marley? Look no further for some fun facts about Bob Marley's life and music, and other Bob Marley trivia.
The accordion is one of the best-known world music instruments, and people tend to love it or hate it. Learn more about the history of accordions, how accordions work and what genres of music feature the accordion.
Are you curious about what styles of music come from the Caribbean? Look here to learn more about some of the great genres that come from these islands.
Gregorian Chant, a form of devotional plainsong that's been part of the Christian tradition for nearly 2000 years, is among the oldest forms of traditional Christian music. This simple, intense music has regained popularity in the past couple of decades, gaining particular popularity among Christians seeking music for meditation and prayer. To begin your own collection, start with these five essential Gregorian Chant CDs!
Mali is well-known in the world music community as being a prolific producer of amazing music. These ten great CDs will get your Malian music collection started nicely.
If you're looking to start a great musical instrument collection for your kids (or the whole family!), these ten relatively simple and fairly cheap instruments from around the world will get you started nicely.
Klezmer music is the traditional secular music of Ashkenazi and Hasidic Jews. It is characterized by use of the accordion, fiddle and clarinet and is often played at Jewish weddings.
Edith Piaf is considered by many to be the greatest French singer of all time. Her tragic life is shrouded in mystery and legend -- learn more about it here!
The two main genres of classical Indian music are Carnatic music, from Southern India, and Hindustani music, from Northern India. Both use systems of ragas and talas to create a sound that is quite different from western music.
Irish music is one of the most popular forms of traditional music in the world. Irish music is unique in that it has remained popular and stayed relatively the same over hundreds of years, whereas other forms of traditional music have died out. Learn more about Irish music and the wonderful musicians who keep the tradition alive!
Scotland is home to some of the world's most beautiful and timeless folk music, and the old traditions are continually being carried forward by a large number of wildly talented young musicians. Check out some of this amazing new-old folk music from Scotland!
Polka music is a form of European dance music which originated in what is now the Czech Republic. It migrated to the United States with Eastern European immigrants and remains quite popular in areas of the Midwest and Great Lakes Region.
Bob Marley is one of the most covered musical artists in history, but very few non-reggae artists seem to cover his songs, and when they do, it's often unsuccessful. Occasionally, though, a gem has broken through. Here are the Top Ten covers of Bob Marley songs done by non-reggae artists.
There are few better ways to experience live music than through a music festival. Here are some tips to make your music festival experience the best it can be.
World music is not hard to come by in New York, and here are 10 of the best places to catch your favorite live performers and world music DJs in the city!
Learn about the types of musical instruments commonly seen in a traditional Irish music band or jam session.
Peter Tosh was one of the original members of legendary reggae band The Wailers, along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer. Though a Rastafarian like Marley, Peter Tosh became known for the militant nature of his reggae songs, which were in clear contrast to Marley's
: What is the difference between Cajun Music and Zydeco? : Many people, when hearing Louisiana-style
Calypso music is a genre of Caribbean music native to the island of Trinidad. Calypso music, like most genres of Caribbean music, is heavily rhythmic and has clever, catchy melodies and lyrics. Calypso music was made popular in the United States by Harry Belafonte.
Though reggae initiated in Jamaica, its sound is decidedly rooted in African rhythms. Thus, it's no surprise that reggae is wildly popular in Africa, and that dozens of African reggae artists have contributed to the development of the genre. Here are some great CDs to get your African reggae collection started.
The fiddle is by far one of the most popular instruments in ethnic music throughout the world. The fiddle's portability and small size, as well as its voice-like sound, has made it travel throughout the world. Fiddle music is, almost always, music for dancing.
Lucky Dube was a pioneer of reggae music in his native South Africa. Lucky Dube followed in the footsteps of Jamaican legends like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, with direct influences from his African roots.
If you like Edith Piaf, take a step further and dig into some other classic French music
The Story Behind "Whiskey in a Jar": "Whiskey in a Jar," one of the best known traditional Irish vocal
Background: "Red is the Rose" is a traditional Irish ballad of unknown origin. It's sung to the same
Every ska, rocksteady and reggae fan has at least one Bob Marley CD on their shelf, but if you're new to the genre, you might be confused as to where to start. These ten must-have albums will help you build your library properly.
Mento music emerged as a distinct style of Jamaican music in the early part of the 1900s, although its roots run much deeper.
The oud (or ud) is one of the oldest stringed instruments in existence, and is still regularly played today. The oud is an ancestor of the lute, and subsequently of the mandolin and guitar.
A sitar is a stringed instrument used in Indian Classical Music. The sitar has also been used by western rock musicians such as the Beatles. Learn more about the sitar!
Edith Piaf's life was cut tragically short at the age of 47, but her death was shrouded in mystery and the cause is somewhat disputed.
Dancehall is a genre of Jamaican music that consists of a deejay rapping (or toasting) over a reggae-like beat (or riddim). Some of the more popular dancehall artists include Yellowman and King Jammy. Many music historians believe that dancehall is a predecessor to rap, with the toasting style brought to New York City by Jamaican immigrants.
These eleven great CDs from Native North American flute masters are guaranteed to soothe, stimulate, and most importantly, open up a window to a beautiful ancient musical tradition.
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A collection of quotations from Bob Marley's song lyrics, on the theme of music, dancing, partying, and fun!
Learn more about the history of this public domain song, written by Thomas Paine Westendorf, which has found a home in the Irish music repertoire despite its American origins.
In order to truly understand Cajun music, it's best to listen to some of the trailblazers of the genre. Here are ten great Cajun cds to get you started.
The Cajun Mardi Gras celebrations in Southwest Louisiana are entirely different than the big-city bacchanalia of New Orleans celebrations. Learn more about Cajun Mardi Gras and the ancient traditions that it is based on.
If you like the reggae music stylings of Bob Marley, check out some of these related reggae music artists. This list includes Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh, who were part of The Wailers, Bob Marley's early rocksteady and reggae band, as well as artists like The Mighty Diamonds, Burning Spear and Toots and the Maytals.
Django Reinhardt was a prolific songwriter and recording artist, and his timeless gypsy jazz music will never go out of style. This playlist covers some of Django Reinhardt's most essential songs, some which he composed himself, and some which he covered.
Best-recognized as the most common drum in your average drum circle, the djembe is a traditional West African hand drum that provides the rhythm to a great many important genres of African music.
For many of us, music is essential to a great yoga practice -- it helps us focus, provides motivation, and generally makes the whole thing more enjoyable. Unfortunately, much of the yoga music on the market is cheesy and barely-listenable. What's a music snob to do? Look no further -- these great modern yoga CDs will soundtrack any flow nicely.
The Story of Cockles and Mussels and Molly Malone: "Cockles and Mussels," also called "Molly Malone,"
The tin whistle is a simple traditional woodwind instrument that is commonly found in Irish music and other genres of Celtic music. The tin whistle is also called a penny whistle and, despite its simplicity, can be played with a great deal of nuance and dynamics by great players.
History and Lyrics: "Dear Old Skibbereen" is a traditional Irish folk song written sometime after the
Bob Marley and the Wailers Live Forever is a new release of Bob Marley's final concert, which took place at the Stanley Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA on September 23, 1980. The CD is made from Soundboard recordings, so the actual recording quality is excellent, and the Wailers were in outstanding form that night -- it's a special recording, for sure. Read my review of Bob Marley and the Wailers Live Forever.
In this hectic world, relaxation can be hard to come by. If you need some music to help you relax or to help you center your body and mind while meditating, these ten great CDs from around the world should help you do just that!
These ten songs come from all over the world but share one thing in common: they're ghoulish! From a funny Jamaican zombie song to a creepy Swedish werewolf ballad to a frightening composition based on Chinese exorcism rituals, this list should frighten and delight you!
Toasting is a style of lyrical chanting which, in Jamaican and other African-inspired musical traditions, involves a deejay chanting over a rhythm. Toasting, as it is used in dancehall music, was the predecessor to modern rap and hip-hop.
Castanets, with their characteristic clack-clack-clack, are a common and ancient member of the percussion family, best known for their use in Spanish folkloric dancing.
The 2013 World Music Torchbearer Award goes to Swedish power-trad trio Vasen!
A collection of quotes on the topics of social justice, politics, and revolution, selected from songs written and performed by Bob Marley.
Rocksteady music is a derivative of ska music that became popular in Jamaica during the late 1960s, when reggae music was also becoming popular. Popular artists of the rocksteady era of jamaican music are Toots and the Maytals, Justin Hinds and the Dominoes and Alton Ellis.
Fela Kuti was a pioneering world musician who played Afrobeat music, a blend of American jazz, funk and pop with West African Highlife Music. Fela Kuti was also a major political activist who became a hero of the Black Power movement. Fela Kuti died of AIDS in 1997.
Rai Music is a popular form of world music from Algeria. Rai music sounds much like pop music, but with Arabic and French musical influences.
Background of John Francis Waller's 19th century folk song.
Angelique Kidjo is a Benin-born singer whose amazing voice and remarkable stage presence have made her one of the most popular musicians in the world. Angelique Kidjo is also well-known for her work as a humanitarian, speaking out against the conflict in Darfur and the ravages of AIDS in Africa. Learn more about Angelique Kidjo's life, work, and especially music!
The Minstrel Boy is an Irish folksong written by Thomas Moore. It was originally written in honor of his friends who died during the Irish Rebellion of 1798, and later gained popularity as a patriotic song for Irishmen worldwide, including Irish-American Civil War regiments. Learn more about the lyrics and history of The Minstrel Boy.
A kora is a 21-stringed harp made from a gourd and popular in West Africa
Cape Breton Island is a gorgeous island in the province of Nova Scotia (Latin for "New Scotland"), Canada.
Calypso music, the African-rooted folk music of Trinidad and Tobago, has long been the soundtrack for the Carnival season on the islands, and its popularity has spread worldwide. Need some good calypso in your collection? Check out these excellent vintage calypso compilations.
Bollywood films are grand spectacles that feature large filmi music and dance numbers and melodramatic plotlines. Filmi music, the correct name for the music of Bollywood films, has become some of the most popular music in the world, and certain filmi singers, such as legend Asha Bhosle, have become well-known outside of the Bollywood arena for their talents.
Oliver Mtukudzi, known as Tuku, is one of Africa's best-loved musicians. Hailing from Zimbabwe, Oliver Mtukudzi's inspired songwriting, brilliant guitar-playing, and lovable stage persona have made him Zimbabwe's most famous artist and a household name throughout Africa.
Fado music is the traditional urban folk music of Portugal. Portuguese fado music is known for its sad, mournful songs and powerful performances.
Zydeco is a vibrant genre of music created by the fusion of African, French, Spanish, Native American, and other international influences, all of which came together in Southwest Louisiana. Get to know zydeco music with some of these essential starter CDs.
The best books about reggae and Jamaican music. From biographies to cultural studies, coffee table books to collections of essays, these books cover everything the avid reggae fan needs to know about the genre and its history.
Though ska music experienced a resurgence in the 1990s, when it was fused with rock and punk, ska experienced its first wave in Jamaica in the 1960s. Traditional ska music is a combination of Jamaican mento with the then-modern sounds of American R&B and soul. Check out some CDs by the best artists from that time period, and discover an important turning point in Jamaican musical history.
Tuvan Throat Singing is a style of singing that comes from Tuva, a small republic in Central Asia. Tuvan Throat Singers are able to produce a number of notes from their voice at one time.
Is your Celtic music collection much too small? Or perhaps it's just a bit neglected and droopy? Click here for some ideas to help you expand it and get you on the road to Celtic music superfandom (or, y'know, just pick a few new albums).
Enya is perhaps one of the best-known world musicians, gaining popularity with her Celtic family band, Clannad, in the 1980s, and later going on to great success as a solo artist. Enya is the best-selling artist from the Republic of Ireland.
Slievenamon (or Slieve Na Mban) is known as the anthem of County Tipperary. Written by Charles J. Kickham in the mid-1800s, it, like so many other Irish folk songs, carries the theme of lost love. Read the lyrics and learn more about the history of Slievenamon.
These CDs will make a great beginning to your African music collection. They represent a wide variety of styles and genres and will be just the thing you need to get you started.
Soca music is a popular form of Caribbean music that comes out of the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Soca is a blend of traditional Trinidadian Calypso and Indian rhythms. Soca has both traditional and contemporary forms.
Love the French language and want to discover some more music in French? Look no further, these ten french language cds will get your collection started nicely!
The top five jeli, or griot, kora players in the world.
The Sash My Father Wore is a Northern Irish folksong that tells of the many battles fought and won by the Orangemen, or Ulster Scots.
Nyabinghi drumming is a form of ritual drumming used for prayer and meditation in the Rastafarian religion. The rhythms of nyabinghi drumming, which come from African rhythms, are integral to the roots of ska and reggae music. Learn more about nyabinghi drumming!
For Love and Laughter is the 2008 release from Irish music group Solas. For Love and Laughter is a really excellent collection of songs that showcase both Solas's virtuosity and their diversity.
A bodhran is a hand-held drum used in traditional Irish music. Bodhran players are an integral part of an Irish music seisun (jam session).
Learn more about this song that tells of the Rebellion of 1798.
Celtic Woman is a worldwide phenomenon that has, much as Riverdance once did, brought Irish music to the world stage. If you like Celtic Woman and need some ideas for more CDs that you might enjoy, check out this list, which includes artists like Enya, Karan Casey, Cherish the Ladies, and Loreena McKennitt, among others.
Bringing children along to festivals can be a fun, and relatively inexpensive, way to spend a long summer weekend. Following these simple tips, though, will make the music festival much more fun for both you and your kids. Before you take your children to a music festival, read on!
Learn more about these traditional Irish bagpipes, how they're played, and how they fit into the sound of Irish music.
Kids love reggae music. It's upbeat, fun, and great for dancing. However, it can sometimes be difficult to find reggae music that has lyrics appropriate for kids, or about themes that children can relate to. Look here for some reggae CDs that are specifically made for children and that kids of all ages can enjoy.
World Music fans are all hippies. World Music isn't sexy. World Music is weird and hard to listen to. World Music is all in foreign languages. Sound familiar? Time to debunk world music myths!
The Wexford Carol is a popular Irish Christmas song with English lyrics. The Wexford Carol is very old, and has a history dating back to the 12th century. Many popular versions of the Wexford Carol have been recorded.
The bagpipes are a traditional instrument of the Scottish Highlands.
Courtin' in the Kitchen is a humorous old Irish folksong which tells of a scandal that took place in Captain Kelly's kitchen.
The Connemara Cradle Song is an old Irish folksong. The Connemara Cradle song has a beautiful melody and soothing lyrics about the ocean, making it both a sea shanty and a lullaby.
Learn more about this musical instrument that is found in several African cultures as well as the Caribbean.
Compas music, or Kompas music, is a genre of Haitian music that incorporates the classic beat of meringue (a Haitian variant of merengue) with Haitian Kreyol (Creole) lyrics and a modern twist. Compas is a popular modern Caribbean music that plays a major part in Carnival celebrations.
A short biography of About.com World Music contributor Rob Hillard.
A reel is a traditional dance and tune style found primarily in Irish and Scottish music, but also in other genres influenced by those styles. The reel is one of the most common types of tunes found in fiddle music around the world, and stepdancers often learn reels as their first type of dance.
The Sahara desert - a land of nomadic peoples - is the source of one of the most exciting movements in world music in recent history. With its cyclical connection to American blues, there are deep roots in the desert sand.
World music fans often find themselves in a bit of a jam when they're planning the music for their wedding - they want to express their unique taste in music, but also want to keep the music sweet and romantic. These ten songs will surely add a touch of romance, as well as some fabulous global flavor, to your wedding.
A short profile of Tanya Tagaq, an Inuit artist who infuses the traditional throat-singing of her people with modern rock, orchestral arrangements, and a punk edge.
Oumou Sangare is an African musician of Wassoulou descent. Born in the southern region of Mali, Oumou Sangare has become one of the best-known Wassoulou musicians in the world, and one of Mali's favorite daughters.
Do You Want Your Old Lobby Washed Down - Lyrics and History of an Irish Music Folksong
Save money at a music festival with these tips. Going to music festivals is a favorite summer activity, but can be deceptively expensive if you're not careful with your money. Here are some ways to save money at a music festival while still having a great time.
The world of Arabic music encompasses a huge variety of music both modern and ancient, and from folk, pop, and classical traditions. Arabic music can be a beautiful and compelling window into Arabic culture, so if you're not familiar with it, here are 10 great CDs from a variety of genres to get your collection started.
The Wearing of the Green is a favorite traditional Irish folksong, one that speaks of revolution. Dating back to at least the Irish Rebellion of 1798, when wearing the color green (or a shamrock in one's hat) was an act punishable by hanging.
"The Spanish Lady" - History and Background: "The Spanish Lady" is an Irish folksong dating back to the
Calypso Rose is one of the Caribbean's best-known female singers and an ambassador of Trinidadian Calypso. Learn more about this fabulous singer!
History: "Weile Waile" (also called "The River Saile" or "The Cruel Mother") is a traditional Irish ballad
An old man came courtin' me, me being young An old man came courtin' me saying would you marry me Maids,
The Merry Ploughboy is a traditional Irish folksong that tells a story of the narrator joining the IRA. A popular revolutionary ballad, The Merry Ploughboy has been recorded by many bands and artists.
The Real Old Mountain Dew is a traditional Irish drinking song with lyrics that were originally penned by one Samuel Lover. The song is about drinking poitin (also known as poteen), a strong home-stilled Irish liquor.
Isicathamiya Music: Isicathamiya means, roughly, "Tip Toe Guys" in Zulu, a major language of South Africa.
The one drop rhythm is a snare drum rhythm that is a major part of the sound of reggae music. The one drop rhythm was popularized by Carlton Barrett, of Bob Marley and the Wailers.
The banjo is considered by some to be the only uniquely american musical instrument. Banjoes are descendants of African instruments, brought to America by slaves.
Patois (or Patwa) is an Afro-English dialect, widely spoken in Jamaica. Many reggae and ska songs are sung in Patois.
A description of the different musical instruments found in a traditional Cajun music band and their roles.
Learn more about this sad old song, written about the Irish Rebellion of 1798.
Thomas Mapfumo - Basic Facts: Thomas Mapfumo was born in Marondera, Rhodesia (what is now Zimbabwe )
These hand-sized world musical instruments might be small, but they pack a big punch. Stuff your loved ones' stockings with something musical this year, and you can even break out into a jam session over Christmas lunch! Or not. That's fine, too.
Roots reggae is a subgenre of reggae music, characterized by socially conscious and spiritual lyrics. Roots reggae peaked in the late 1960s with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and their contemporaries, but there are still great artists recording roots reggae, and it remains popular among people who dislike the slack lyrics of modern dancehall.
Suggestions to get your Pandora station populated with great international music, from recent releases to classic tunes, and from artists all over the world.
The pan pipes, and instruments very similar to them, are among the oldest known musical instruments. Their allure is timeless, and they're still played in contemporary and traditional music around the world.