In recent years, music streaming services have made it possible to tune into a myriad of playlists at your convenience.
Those services, however, tend to predominantly feature music from the West.
But there are folk music traditions from every corner of the world. For listeners who are overexposed to beats from the English-speaking world, I recommend spicing things up with something that wouldn’t usually find its way onto your playlist. It may take some getting used to, but in my experience it will bring some color and excitement into your life.
2.Listening to World Music
“World music" is an umbrella term that encompasses a vast range of different musical styles, so saying you’re into “world music" can be an incredibly vague statement. Personally, I’m especially into Hawaiian music and Brazilian music.
Among the many kinds of Hawaiian music, I’m especially into the sounds of songs sung in the Hawaiian language (which remains an official language of Hawaii, along with English), and slack-key guitar.
In terms of Brazilian music—and a lot of South American music for that matter—I’m into the more mellow, relaxing genres that I find help me get a lot of work done.
●World music compilation picks
Hawaiian Music Complete Best
Surfers, Pandanus Club, Keali’i Reichel, Ohta-san (Herb Ohta) & Lyle Ritz, Willie K, Robi Kahakalau, Maunalua, Amy Hanaiali’i Gilliom, Herb Ohta
Lauloa, Hapa, Ulwehi Guerrero, Makaha Sons featuring Dennis Pavao, Maunalu, Makaha Sons, Kahauanu Lake Trio, Kealiʻi Reichel, Robi Kahakalau, Kamakele “Bulla" Kaʻiliwai, and others
Slack Key Guitar
Sonny Lim, Bryan Kessler, Randy Lorenzo, John Keawe, Charles Michael Brotman, Kevin Teves, Ken Emerson, and others
Slack Key Guitar 2
Bryan Kessler, Sonny Lim, Randy Lorenzo, Jeff Peterson, Keoki Kahumoku, Charles Michael Brotman, John Keawe, Charlie Recaido, John Cruz, and others
Saúde! Saudade... 30+beyond
Saigenji, Caetano Veloso, Marisa Monte, Bebel Gilberto, Lisa Ono, Eliane Elias, Celso Fonseca, Sergio Mendes, and others
Seleção Sakamoto De Bossa Nova: O Brilho Do Tempo (Compiled and selected by Ryuichi Sakamoto)
Antônio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto, Elis Regina
Dancehall Lovers Climax: 10th Anniversary Best hot Reggae Mix
Voicemail, M’Lonie, Ward 21, Mr. Vegas, Smujji, Che’nelle, Karl Wolf feat. Culture, Hakim, Adele Harley, and others
Beginner’s Guide to Reggae
Bob Marley & the Wailers, Lee Perry, U-Roy, Sean Paul, Gregory Isaacs, Desmond Dekker, Dennis Brown, Mr. Vegas, Gyptian, and others
Beginner’s Guide to Cuba
Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Alfredo Rodriguez, Papa Noel & Papi Oviedo, Emilio Salvador, Todos Estrellas, Juan Carlos Alfonso, and others
Evolution of Dub Volume 1
Joe Gibbs, King Tubby, Observer All Stars
Beginner’s Guide to Flamenco
Pepe Habichuela, Moraito, La Macanita, Juanito Valderrama, Maria Berasarte, Tammy Garcia, Enrique Vargas, and others
Aubade: Lecons De Tango
Astor Piazzolla, Orquesta El Arranque, Roberto Goyeneche, Liliana Herrero, Horacio Salgan, Victoria Moran, and others
Buenos Aires Life/Music/5
Leticia De Luca, Fernando Taborda, Alejandro Brenner, Carlos Moscardini, Fabian Bertero, Sergio Rivas, and others
Antonio Pantoja, Condorcanqui, Los Andariegos, Tito Veliz, Hugo Diaz, Kelo Palacios, Tawantinsuyu, Los Yungas, Uña Ramos, Los Quilla Huasi, and others
New Queens of Fado
Ana Moura, Carminho, Cristina Branco, Joana Amendoeira, Katia Guerreiro, Mafalda Arnauth, Maria Ana Bobone, Mariza, Misia, and others
Bon Bon French
Yves Montand, Jacques Prévert, Joseph Kosma, K. Richard
Celtic Trad: Just Spice Music
The Bothy Band, Mary Custy, Grinand, Tommy Peoples, Pat Marsh, Joe Bryne, and others
Sound of Africa
Sunjul Cissoko, Kakraba Robi, Getachew Abdi, Hukwe Ubi Zawose, Ituri Pygmies, Randafison Sylvestre, Likembe, Côte d’Ivoire National Ballet Ensemble, and others
Tibetan Buddhism Tantras Of Gyuto: Sangwa Dupa
3.Diving into EDM
EDM is short for “electronic dance music", an umbrella term for the type of music played at nightclubs and raves to charm partygoers.
EDM comprises many genres and subgenres, and may be difficult to get into for the uninitiated. Friends of mine have told me that it all sounds rather monotonous, and that the tracks all sound the same. Certainly, the music is designed to blend together, often seamlessly. But once you get hooked, what first appears to be a drab, monotonous musical landscape becomes highly addictive.
In my selection below I’ve chosen mostly compilations compiled by big-name EDM labels and festivals.
●EDM compilation picks
WIRE 13 Compilation
Ken Ishii, Len Faki, 2000 & One, Bart Skils, Phillip Gorbachev, Pachanga Boys, Giorgio Moroder, and others
Ultra Music Festival Japan Compilation Album 2017
Nakata Yasutaka, Martin Garrix, Kygo, The Chainsmokers, Digital Farm Animals, Krewella, Zara Larsson
EDM Anthem: Best of the Best
DJ Snake, Mike Posner, Afrojack, Axwell Λ Ingrosso, Jonas Blue, Tiesto, Avicii
Body & Soul: 15 Years
Mixed by Francois K., Danny Krivit, and Joe Claussell
Ministry of Sound Presents: The Annual 2018
Martin Jensen, Jonas Blue, Martin Solveig, Kygo, Camelphat, DJ Khaled, Future, Jax Jones, Zedd, Alessia Cara, and others
Pacha Ibiza 2016
Ne-Yo, Janieck Devy, Thomas Troelsen, Trevor Guthrie, Delaney Jane, Maxine Hardcastle, Lyse, and others
Cream Anthems 2016
River, Milly Pye, Julian Perretta, Fuse ODG, Nyla, Ron Costa, Tiga, Audion (Matthew Dear), The Angel, and others
Hed Kandi: Tropical Nights
Kygo, Jonas Blue, Duke Dumont, Robin Schulz, Riton, Imagine Dragons, Tomas Jack, and others
Ministry of Sound Presents: Deep House Anthems
Disclosure, Maya Jane Coles, Tensnake, Chris Malinchak, Shibasan, Cloud 9, Dusky, Kolsch, The Martinez Brothers, Hot Since 82, Dennis Ferrer, Bicep, and others
Minstry of Sound Live & Remastered: 20th Anniversary Boxset
Mixed by Larry Levan, David Morales, Todd Terry, Kenny Carpenter, Justin Berkmann
Global Underground: Select Volume 6
Eelke Kleijn, Gui Boratto, Yotto, Lane 8, Cristoph, Ben Bohmer, Dosem, and others
Hed Kandi Ibiza 2018
Kideko, Peggy Gou, Jax Jones, MK, Soulsearcher, Secondcity, Danny Howard, Sonny Fodera, Kokiri, and others
Roger Sanchez, Eric Prydz, Denney, deadmau5, Eelke Kleijn, Layo & Bushwacka, Axwell, Calvin Harris, Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, David Guetta, Tiesto, Diplo, Tomcraft, Paul Oakenfold, BT, and others
Defected Miami 2018
Ejeca, Angelo Ferreri, Kings of Tomorrow, Riton, John Tejada, Mella Dee, Stefano Ranieri, and others
Kompakt Total 10
DJ Koze, Thomas Mayer, Gui Boratto, The Field, Wassermann, Mugwump, Pachanga Boys, and others
Boards of Canada, Plaid, Autechre, Elecktroids, Nightmares On Wax, Flying Lotus, Seefeel, and others
Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Luke Vibert, LFO, Jimmy Edgar, Broadcast, Grizzly Bear, Jamie Lidell, and others
Tomorrowland – The Secret Kingdom of MelodiaMixed by Armin Van Buuren, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Martin Garrix, Robin Schulz
4.Embracing new age and lounge music
If you’re looking for something relaxing to wind down your day with, I recommend putting on some new age music or lounge music.
In my selection below I’ve chosen a variety of CDs to help you relax, ranging from compilations suited for yoga or meditation to those that have a more uplifting EDM vibe.
Many of these compilations are part of a series, so if you take a liking to any of them in particular, you’ll be able to find plenty more where that came from.
I’m especially a fan of the Spirit of Healing series, produced by Kubota Makoto.
●New age/lounge music compilations
Best of Image: Emotional & Relaxing
Carl Jenkins, Toriyama Yuji, Hakase Taro, Rodrigo Leão, WeiWei Wuu, Yo Yo Ma, and others
Aura: Best ~Beautiful Music & Wonderful Life~
Sarah Brightman, Celtic Woman, Libera, Placido Domingo, Hakase Taro, Senju Akira, Hisaishi Joe, Sakamoto Ryuichi, and others
Windham Hill Christmas
Jeff Johnson, Brian Dunning, John Fitzpatrick, Steve Enjuiaga, Jim Brickman, Barbara Higbie, George Winston, and others
Sanctuary: 20 Year of Windham Hill
Metamora, Nightnoise, George Winston, Modern Mandolin Quartet, Turtle Island String Quartet, Ray Lynch, Tim Story, Jim Brickman, William Ackerman, Tracy Silverman, and others
Cafe del Mar Vol. 5
Levitation, Jelly & Fish, 4 Wings, Ame Strong, The Ballistic Brothers, Lamb , and others
Cafe del Mar Vol. 7
Moby, Bedrock, Nightmares on Wax, and others
Hotel Costes 7
Mixed by Stephane Pompougnac
Hotel Costes 6
Mixed by Stephane Pompougnac
CAFE aperitivo(2)~Italian Sweets~
FreeTempo, Kaleidoscopio, DJ Rodriguez, 12 Fingers, Sam Paglia, Riovolt, and others
Masters of Acoustic Guitar
Stephen Bennett, Ed Gerhard, Eric Johnson, Laurence Juber, Preston Reed, Pat Kinley, and others
Togi Hideki, TOGI+BAO
Spirt of Healing: Bali
Spirt of Healing: India
The Yoga for good sleep
5.Epilogue: The true pleasure of world music
The best thing about world music is the feeling of stumbling upon an entire world of music that you’re hearing for the first time.
For those of us who lead lives soundtracked by the pop music of the day, it’s humbling—but also life-affirming—to realize that there are so many types of music out there in the world.
The next time you’re in a cd or record store (if those still exist in your area), don’t shy away from the world music section. Instead, think of it as a treasure hunt where every discovery enriches your life and experience of the world.
It’s my hope that some of the CDs I’ve listed above turn out to be as fruitful for you as they have for me.