Defining World Music

After years of deep contemplation, I have come to the determination that all music fits under the categorical umbrella labeled world music. A more common notion suggests that world music is the expression of a culture’s traditional roots music, indigenous music, or folk music.

Some hold that the genres with the broader concept of world music can be authored, created and originally played, interpreted, performed and composed by indigenous musicians within the communities uniquely related specifically to ‘their’ music and the region of origin where the music was first birthed.

From my viewpoint, this is, in part, a troublesome idea. It loosely holds to the notion that if you are not a member of that ethnic group or a bonafide part of the culture from which the style was born, you are neither authorized to render the music nor can you legitimately create, teach or perform it.

This attitude is one that I deeply understand, have empathy for and respect, in addition to acknowledging its intended, yet narrow purpose attached to the painful history of “outsiders” appropriating cultural norms worldwide.