Blending musical styles from around the globe, the unique sounds from varying cultures mix and mingle in the perfect harmony of traditional and contemporary in the sounds of world music. Inclusivity of all countries and cultures defines this genre of music, incorporating sounds and influences from all walks of life. The genre was coined in the late twentieth century to classify music originating outside of the Western hemisphere, but has since gained elasticity in its definition with globalization allowing for expansion within the audience, as well as an increase in the global reach of world music—both to include more types of music and to be accessible to a greater population. The growth and popularity of world music has led to sub genres and hybrids, including ethnic fusion, global fusion, world fusion, and worldbeat, which blends contemporary pop or rock music of Western origin with traditional world music influences.
Although today’s highly-connected tendencies and plugged-in nature comes with the challenge of unplugging from technology in order to quiet the mind and seek a peaceful state, these same technologies that add buzz and busyness to daily life also allow for instantaneous access to sounds created by people from every corner of the world. The foreign and unfamiliar sounds, voices, patterns, rhythms, and meanings can make these global melodies feel other worldly, but can also provide an ideal way to enter other cultures. Furthermore, listening to music from around the world can help focus the mind through meditation, with words sung in native tongue, the lyrics transcend comprehension and allow for the mind to have tunnel vision for the tones and timing of the music, creating an acute focus that lulls the buzzing brain and provides a break from processing words and dialogue, while focusing solely on sound. By transcending cultural and language barriers, musical boundaries, and religious differences, world music offers a promising path towards personal and spiritual fulfillment.