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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Fife

Why World Music is My Go-to Feel Good Music

I love a glut of different styles of music, but when I need to reconnect with who I am & feel good about life, the Universe, and everything, there is one source I almost always will turn to first.

Ok, so Deep Thought really doesn't have much to do with World Music, but having made the reference, I just can't skip over it.

I ADORE World music. Ethnic Music. Folk Music. Aboriginal. Whatever you want to call it. I love the organic nature of it. I don't speak a single foreign language, (though I can understand a bit of Spanish & German). But almost without fail, Ethnic World Music speaks to me. Which is why when my wife told me she found a new streaming service,, I was immediately hooked, and sorry Fred Child, its even managed to displace Performance Today most days.

I love turning on their "Random Playlist" & letting it go wild. Folkcloud is an awesome service & it lets you search for music by region / country, etc... By clicking on the random playlist though, you get a truly global experience of music. For example, the playlist it generated for me this time consists of:

  • Spain

  • Colombia

  • Congo

  • Belgium

  • Finland

  • Belarus

  • Korea

  • Latvia

  • Ethiopia

  • Afghanistan

  • Sudan

  • Cape Verde

  • Puerto Rico

  • Canada

  • Iran

  • Guatemala

  • Poland

  • Benin

  • and Bangladesh

Pretty Epic combo with some exceedingly different styles, tonalities, along with an extreme diversity of abilities & complexities of rhythm's and timbres.

Growing up in very-white-Idaho, it wasn't something I exactly stumbled into. I'm sure I heard some here and there on tv shows from time to time, but my first real exposure to a decent quantity of this type of music didn't come until my 1st music appreciation class in college, then followed up by more music history classes - Professor Mary Dupree at the University of Idaho, really managing to open my ears to some new sounds as it were. Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road ensemble was the first specific "group" that I fell in love with because of a presentation a student gave on them in her class. I was hooked. (If you haven't checked out the Silk Road Ensemble, do it, you won't regret it - if you listen to Folkcloud & don't like it for some reason, the musical capabilities & quality of the Silk Road ensemble are unparalleled).

So what hooked me to ethnic & world music? More than anything - the organic nature of it. The similarities sometimes in rhythms & life that come through from completely different regions (think how you might have had the thought that someone was supposed to be lifting Simba in the air at the beginning of Frozen - please tell me I'm not the only one who thought that).

Music grows from a few key places inside us, first off, the need to move combined with the expression of intense emotions that just cannot be expressed in any other way such as:

  • Grief

  • Joy

  • Love

  • Jealousy

  • And on and on

For me, Ethnic & world music capture that better than most other forms of music & help me to feel those things in a way I wouldn't otherwise. I'm not saying Classical, Rock & Roll or whatever else you (and I) don't also capture some of those things, but for me, the humanity of world music just captures me & helps to heal my soul. And I imagine it's a little different for everyone on different musical levels. For my wife, the sound of bagpipes seems to awaken some genetic memory part of her heritage (mine too for that matter). And that's a bit of what I experience hearing the passion and diversity of world music. If you're looking for a great source for it, Try It's awesome.

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