Designing a World Music Core Collection

On 19 Feb Annette suggested that I put together a list of world music CDs for the library's collection, with an eye to purchase during the summer. Seems to me the ideal way to do this is systematically via the Web, so that we'll have a 'finding aid' to the collection when it is a reality.

One way to approach this task is geographically, with the intention of providing some examples (trenchant, suggestive, representative) from a broad scope of musical cultures. It's also important to include traditional and modern genres, and therefore even more relevant to have some sort of explanation of what's included and why.

Some of the links to items below connect to online CD catalogs; a few offer sound samples (playable if your browser is equipped with appropriate helper apps)

I'll start out with geographical access:

North America / Latin America / Caribbean

Sub-Saharan Africa / North Africa / Middle East

Europe / Central Asia / South Asia

Southeast Asia / East Asia / Oceania


The Web offers all sorts of guides and lists that can be useful in learning about world music resources. There's a Music Library Guide from U. Maryland that's worth a look, and another from University of Chicago with new World Music additions. And a collection of Traditional World Music Recordings documents by Todd McComb. Also Rough Guide to World Music (only a few live links, though). And some music essays by luminaries including John Storm Roberts.

North America: Latin America: Caribbean: see Afro-Caribbean music guide Sub-Saharan Africa: see Music from Africa and the African Diaspora and RootsWorld African Music Resources. North Africa: Middle East: Europe: Central Asia: (see Turkish Music and Central Asian Music South Asia: (see a guide to South Indian musics) Southeast Asia: East Asia: Oceania: Samplers: collections with no single geographic focus.