Since I haven't been able to travel long-distance due to finances and health reasons, I learned about the world by exploring musical traditions from other cultures. But I didn't stop there, I also watch anthropology videos and read books on the topic. Since I was a child, I have pursued my interests in other cultures with my earliest efforts involving pen pals in German, France and Japan. Once the internet came available I jumped on board ditto for world music via compact discs and concerts. However, one of my favorite books in my collection is Mickey Hart's Song Catchers published with National Geographic.
This book delves into the works of famous ethnomusicologists (anthropologist who study music-related culture). But I've already reviewed the book for this blog and I would rather pursue the topic of exploring music via headphones (or not) and YouTube. So what kind of videos can we find on YouTube and how do we know what to search for?
Since I had reviewed world music CDs from around the globe for over ten years before I began surfing YouTube, I already had lists of music I wanted to find on the website. You could easily pick up any of the Rough Guide books on music or if you don't want to visit YouTube, visit the Rough Guide and National Geographic music sites where you will also find videos with notes written by music experts. If African music floats your boat, check out http://www.afropop.org and if you want to explore music from all corners of the planet, by all means, check out http://worldmusiccentral.org
I'm getting you started with three folkloric music traditions since my main focus for this article is world music.
The first video features the Tuareg nomads from Africa's Sahara Desert, mainly the country of Mali. This is more rock-blues than traditional, but you can find a myriad of Tuareg videos on YouTube.
The second video takes us far north near the Arctic Circle where we hear the indigenous people called the Sami perform a yoik (a mystical chant to a person, place or thing).
In the third and final video, we're off to Bali to watch a gamelan ensemble.
Now, each of these videos will set different moods and your reactions to the musical traditions will vary. Write down your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual responses if any in your music diary. We will continue this global music treasure hunt in upcoming posts, but for now, bon voyage.