In praise of world music
You may or may not know, or care, that I host a world music radio show on KZSU, the Stanford University radio station. Because of that, I am constantly exposed to new music from all around the world. And all I can say is...wow!
Thank god for Sanseverino, a wacky Italian-French gypsy-jazz-pop singer whose CD "Les Senegalaises" was one of my top ten of 2004 and still gets me through the day when things get dreary. Thanks too, to Rachid Taha whose Algerian cover of The Clash's famous anthem "Rock the Casbah," is an ironic hip-shaking rai-groove that is seriously cool. Bless Henri Dikongue (one of my first discoveries), Wassis Diop, Angelique Kidjo, Oliver Mutkutzi, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and all of the wonderful artists out of Africa who don't get nearly the fame they deserve. Bless all those 80 year old "Buena Vista Social Club," guys who keep Cuba dancing. Thanks to Kila for their hypnotic Celtic-world epics. And lets not forget the amazing Native American performers who are (typical of Native Americans, unfortunately) pretty much ignored by the mainstream: Joanne Shenandoah, Robert Mirabal, Bill Miller, Sharon Burch, to name only a few.
If you only listen to mainstream music, do yourself a favor and discover the world. Like Blues? Check out some French Blues? Like hip hop? You might try listening to African or Spanish hip hop. Pop? Hell, the world is full of great pop, rock, jazz, even punk artists.
Please, listen to the world. It wants to be heard.