The genre of so-called ‘World Music’ can have many music fans scratching their heads in ill recognition, with many downright hostile to it for some reason. But the fact remains that the world is a pretty big place, and such snobbery to other cultures’ musical traditions means that anyone with such views can easily miss out on some of the greatest music around. It is perhaps the most original and growing sub-section of music, with a world of delights to be unearthed.
Whether as the true source of the Blues in West Africa through any number of artists from Ali Farke Toure to Tinariwen, the funk work of Fela Kuti and his followers, the mysticism and vocal magic of Q'waali singers such as the late great Nusraat Fateh Ali Khan, and so much more besides. It is impossible to do justice to it here. But we can give you a start.
At the end of our ‘Family Affair’ playlist is a tune by Maryam Guebrou and Emahoy Tsegue – ‘Mother’s Love’ – taken from the compilation ‘The Very Best Of Ethiopiques’. Here is not the place to give a potted history of the Ethiopian music scene, and particularly that of the capital Addis Ababa, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A google search for this title can give you that. But if you want to listen to one of the most infectious, joyful and downright brilliant slices of jazzy, funky soul music then this is the place for you. You may be initially unsettled, but also comforted by the strangely familiar melodies and rhythms. What is certain is that you will be transfixed, and an exciting new adventure of discovery will await you. Isn't that what good music is all about after all, wherever you are in the world?