Updated: Jun 22, 2021
Today marks world music day and we’re taking a look at music from all around the world.
World music day originated in France in 1982, and is now celebrated worldwide, with people encouraged to attend free music events and festivals, as well as show off their musical talents.
In 2014, British soul Singer-songwriter Joss Stone, made a vow to perform in every country around the world, and to be the first artist to do “a real world tour”. We can understand why she would want to spread her music all over the world, being the phenomenal talent she is. But let’s not forget the incredible music from all over the world.
For some people, it may be easy to think of world music as traditional and outdated. But it’s actually 2021, there’s a whole load of contemporary contributions from around the globe and we wanted to celebrate some of our faves!
KPop is a music genre that originated in South Korea. Along with Jorean pop, genres such as Hip Hop, rock and electronic music can also be under KPop. KPop has more or less taken over the world. Some of the biggest bands come from Korea. BTS, BlackPink and EXO can ignite a trending topic instantly with a follow or unfollow from their social media accounts.
The birth of contemporary KPop can be pinpointed to the date of the 11th of April 1992, where bands Seo Taiji and The Boys played their music on live TV for the first time. These bands were active in the mid 1990s and are the first Korean bands to integrate rap into South Korean pop music. Key characteristics of KPop singers/bands include having a designated rapper, involvement of English phrases and catchy dance moves… Let’s face it, we all know the moves to Psy’s Gangnam Style!
Similar to Korea and KPop, Japan has its own music in the style of super catchy pop music - Jpop. The United Kingdom is the third biggest exporter of music in the world, However, the second biggest is Japan (number one being the United States of America). JPop is a music genre that entered the music scene in Japan in the 1990s. Modern JPop music has its roots in 1960s music, including influences like The Beatles.
But contemporary Japanese music can be traced as far back as the Taisho (1912-1926) Period, when Western instruments such as strings and harmonica became popular to use in songs. Genres such as Western Jazz and blues became popular in Japan. Modern composers often infuse these genres into their music. Artists such as Babymetal, Scandal, Perfume and Band-maid are some examples of Japan’s music artists.
Very few countries are as defined by their music in the way that Jamaica is. With credits to Bob Marley, Reggae music is the island’s soundtrack that has taken the world by storm. The history of Jamaican music intertwines with the history of the island’s people. Jamaica is the 3rd largest island in the Caribbean and was originally populated by the Arawak people, the island’s indigenous, native people. The island has had lots of cultural influences through the Spanish, English and African colonies during the colonial era.
Mikayla Simpson, known professionally as Koffee , is a Jamaican Reggae singer-songwriter, rapper, DJ and guitarist. She signed with Columbia Records in 2019. Koffee uses her music to not only entertain people but to also educate them about global issues. On her website she says “I genuinely want to make the world a better place.” One of her songs, Toast, is arguably one of 2019’s biggest hits.
Despite not being in the top three music exporters, Sweden might have arguably one of the biggest hitmakers. Karl Martin Sandberg, also known as Max Martin, is a Swedish record producer, songwriter and retired singer. He is, more or less, the king when it comes to writing pop songs. He has written and co/produced songs for Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Katy Perry, Maroon 5 and Taylor Swift, he even penned a track for 5ive. After Paul McCartney and Elton John, Max is the songwriter with the third most number one singles on the Billboard chart. He has also won the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award a record eleven times.
Music is a very important element in Greek culture having an incredible diversity thanks to the different influences of Eastern and Western cultures. In Ancient Greece, music was seen as a gift of the gods and they believed that music could be positive for the body and mind of the listeners. I actually grew up in Cyprus for 11 years. One of my favourite memories is learning Greek dancing and hearing Greek music everywhere in Cyprus.
There are many traditional Greek Dances, such as The Zorba or Kalamatianos. There is a dance for every occasion. Greek Instruments include The Kithara, The Lyre and The Aulos.
Trinidad and Tobago
One of my fave genres you can hear in Trinidad and Tobago is known as Calypso music. This music is usually associated with carnival so think bright colours and lots of dancing. Calypso music has a 3 beat rhythm with 2 long beats followed by a short beat with 4 by 4 syncopation. Instruments found in this music genre include guitar, bass guitar, trumpets, saxophones and drums.
Steel pan music originated in Trinidad and Tobago in the 1940s. Steel bands usually play calypso tunes as well as folk and classical music. These instruments, known as pans, were originally made out of oil drums. The lead instruments are known as tenors or ping pongs.
As the amazing singer-songwriter, Stevie Wonder, said "Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand."
Music is a gift and it can definitely bring people together, especially in a time like the present. In most countries, there is music for every occasion. For a wedding, a funeral, or graduation. Event holidays like Christmas or Easter. Although music is different in every country it is understood by us all. We hope this World Music Day allows people to connect to their heritage and culture .