Charting the routes of world music

World music. To some it’s a long-defunct marketing invention, a crude catch-all for bringing global folk styles – and numerous dodgy attempts at fusion – under one pointless umbrella. Questioning the validity of the term is not new. Mark Hudson’s 1998 book The Music in my Head satirized the world music phenomenon. But it’s worth looking again at the argument. I would argue that, while it undeniably has its limits, in this age of globalization world music is an attractively loose term for describing music that crosses cultural boundaries.

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