The acceptance of World sounds by major artists has paved the way for some international acts to gain a following in North America.The Chieftans is the first such example that comes to mind. A traditional Irish instrumental ensemble, since the 1960's The Chieftans has been spreading tin whistles, jigs and reels to audiences around the world. Working with artists such as Van Morrison on various recording projects certainly helped bring the band wider acclaim, but it is astounding that such musical purists are as popular as they are. It is almost as though The Chieftans define the Irish instrumental genre. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's booming voice and presence brought qawalli, the popular music of Pakistan, into North America. Until his untimely death in the late 90's, Ali Khan's stage presence and high-impact delivery broke down barriers between language and culture. If there is a jack and master of all trades in the music business, Daniel Lanois is the man. A producer, songwriter, performer and guitarist, Lanois is best known as the producer of such landmark albums as Robbie Robertson's self-titled solo album, Peter Gabriel's So and several of U2's best albums. He also draws upon his French Canadian roots, particularly on Acadie, his first effort spotlighting his guitar mastery and songwriting. Here at World Music 101, I am going to spend some time looking at a few of these artists in depth, showcasing their music from a World Music perspective. We will take a look at some of their key recordings, history and even a few surprises along the way.
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