Five world music artists to soothe your soul

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The eclectic instrumentation creates the unique sound which is loosely named, “World Music”.

Jazz around the world, Putumayo album cover

What is world music? According to, it is “traditional music from the developing world.” In a much broader sense, it is any music incorporating different styles from around the world. It was popularized in Western culture by pop stars such as Sting, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, and George Harrison. It is a musical category with blurred lines and inclusiveness.

I think it’s any music that sounds like it’s not “made in America”. I listen to it when I need to relax or let my creativity run wild, or when I’m just tired of hearing the same old popular music from my upbringing over and over again. Let it calm your nerves and maybe influence you in the kitchen, when you roll out your yoga mat, create a romantic mood, cycle around town or practice your salsa dance moves. Here is my list of five world music artists to try on this vacation while you relax from the hustle and bustle. Johannes linstead
Hello from Toronto, the hometown of guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Johannes Linstead. Not an easy artist to categorize, Lintead’s music is often referred to as “global fusion”. Recognizable for his beautiful flamenco nuevo style guitar playing, his music seems to be heavily influenced by the warmer climates of the world. Listening to its melodies and rhythms conjures up emotional images of coastal sunsets or Latin American street cafes.

However, Linstead grew up in the cold beauty of northern Canada, where he began studying guitar at the age of 8. He is a local treasure in his hometown of Toronto where he received the “World’s Best Album of the Year” award from the Toronto Independent Music. Awards in 2017, as well as having the previous honor of “Guitarist of the Year” at the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards in 2007.

Fluent in Hung Gar Kung Fu, Qi Gong and Kundalini Yoga, the spiritually well-balanced Linstead founded Divine Earth in 2006. Divine Earth is an online community that promotes the philosophy of achieving a better world by cultivating one’s own. inner peace thanks to the conscience of the world. politics, spirituality, health and wellness.

Tracks to try: “Tides of Eden”, “Cielo Azul”, “Heat in Torremolinos”

AR Rahman
Namaste of India, birthplace of Allahrakka Rahman, known professionally as AR Rahman. The Indian music director, songwriter and producer is famous around the world, but became a household name in 2009 when he won numerous awards for the sheet music of Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire. A Golden Globe for Best Original Music, a BAFTA Award for Best Motion Picture Music, and two Oscars for Best Original Song and Best Original Music to be precise.

Known for incorporating classical Indian music, with electronic rhythms and orchestral arrangements, Rahman was influenced by his film music composer father. His father passed away when he was nine and at 11 he started studying with Malayalam composer MK Arjunan.

Composing jingles for commercials and sheet music for short documentaries passed the time until Rahman landed his first film score for the film, Roja. In 1992 he built his own recording studio, Panchathan Record Inn, the most advanced recording studio in all of India. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2010, the third highest civilian award in India and in 2009 was ranked among the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. There is a language barrier that might not appeal to all American listeners, but the beautiful phrasing, catchy rhythms, and infectious joy that emanate from his songs are undeniably appealing.

Tracks to try: “Jai Ho”, “O … Saya”, “Chaiyya Chaiyya”

gypsy kings
Hello from Arles and Montpellier in the south of France, homeland of the Gipsy Kings. However, Hola might be more appropriate as the Gipsy Kings sing in Andalusian Spanish, the native language of their families who fled Spain during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. Originally calling themselves Los Reyes, the Nicolas brothers and Andre Reyes along with cousins ​​Jacques, Maurice and Tonino Baliardo changed their name to The Gipsy Kings, drawing inspiration from their family roots as well as the group’s beginnings as a traveling wedding, festival, street group.

It took a long time for the Kings to take off. Their traditional flamenco style was popular with their local fans, but it wasn’t until they collaborated with music producer Claude Martinez in 1986 that they caught the attention of a wider audience. Martinez recognized the potential of the group and brought a contemporary twist mixed with Latin American, Middle Eastern and Afro-Cuban influences.

It wasn’t until their eponymous third album that the Gipsy Kings achieved worldwide commercial success. gypsy kings spent 40 weeks in the US charts in 1989, a very rare thing for Spanish-language albums. They had four Grammy nominations for Best World Music Album and won in this category in 2013 for their album, Savor the Flamenco. They have been described as “Spanish flamenco and gypsy rhapsody meet salsa funk”.

Tracks to try: “Volare”, “Bamboleo”, “Canastero”, “Guaranga”

Ravi Shankar
Namaste once again from India, the birthplace of “Sitar maestro” Ravi Shankar. Often referred to as Pandit, which means master or guru in Vedic scriptures. Shankar is an Indian classical music composer who popularized sitar music in the second half of the 20th century.

At the age of 18, Shankar began studying the sitar. Six years later he was already composing film scores and became Music Director of All India Radio shortly thereafter. It wasn’t until he started touring Europe as a sitar player in the 1960s that he popularized Indian classical music.

His friendship with George Harrison of The Beatles deeply influenced not only Harrison’s music but also his emotional and spiritual life. He is quoted as saying: “In 1966, by the grace of God, my life was blessed and improved by the sudden desire to study classical music from India … Music meant more to me than anything. what I had never heard in my life. ”

The collaboration inspired “Raga Rock”, rock / pop music with a strong Indian influence, and made Shankar a household name in the West. He played at Woodstock in 1969, but was put off by drugs and hippie culture. “It hurts a little bit when I see the association of drugs with our music. Music for us is religion,” Shankar said.

Her famous children include sitar player Shubhendra Shankar, Grammy Award-winning artist Norah Jones and Grammy-nominated Anoushka Shankar. Ravi Shankar died in 2012 at the age of 92. His legacy is immense and it is impossible to sum it up in a few paragraphs, but listen to it and pay homage to a musical genius and a precious soul of this Earth.

Tracks to try: “Raga Piloo”, “I miss you”, “Shanti Mantra”

Ola from Brazil, birthplace of the Atotoo group. The four members were formed in 2017 and intensely rehearsed and refined their sound which they dubbed, “Mantra-song”, a combination of hypnotic grooves, psychedelia, bossanova and raga. With influences from India, China, Turkey, Peru and Tibet, their sound has a global groove unlike anything you’ve ever heard.

Gustavito Amaral and Thiago Braz are singer-songwriters who made music together for years before meeting and collaborating with Ricardo Passos and Edson Fernando. Passos is a Portuguese musician who has lived abroad for many years to study old strings and exotic instruments. Fernando is an experienced Brazilian percussionist who has become a scholar of the Indian instrument, the pakhawaj.

These unique contributions give Atotoo a sound that connects Brazilian and Indian grooves with a dash of flavor from, literally, all over the world. Soon they will be available on Spotify, but in the meantime you can find them on Youtube, Facebook and Instagram.

Tracks to try: “Ponto De Harmonizacao”, “Arara De Ouro”, “Atoto”

Honorable mentions:
DJ Krush “Beyond the Raging Waves”
Ana Caram “Fly me to the Moon”
Mantra “the monsoon”
Ottmar Liebert “Snake Charmer”
Transglobal Underground “Khalgi Stomp”
Armik “Golden waves”
Pentagram “One” (Bir)
Jesse Cook “Havana”