Paula's World Music MP3 Picks

Find MP3 files for all kinds of World Music here.

Archived MP3 Picks:

Previous Picks:

"A-Souling" by Lothlorien
Format: MP3

The sweet vocal harmonies on this folk music classic makes "A-Souling" a must-listen. Lothlorien is a traditional Celtic band from Auckland, New Zealand that combines excellent male and female vocal work with guitars, whistles, fiddles, bodhrans, bouzoukis and keyboards.

Background music from Karelia Vise by Hedningarna
Format: RealAudio; 5 minutes

From an album released in 1999, this recording features the three Finnish girls at the microphone, backed by the three Swedish guys who make up the core of the band. Lots of chanting vocal work here with a spacy, aural background.

Pagayez by Zachary Richard
Format: Quicktime Video

Known for his Cajun and Zydeco sounds, New Orleans musician Zachary Richard presents a heavily Native-influences sound in "Pagayez." From his most recent release in French, Coeur Fidèle (Faithful Heart), this video clip was recorded live at a concert in Chicoutimi.

Quiet (The Sea Island Mix) by WildGoddess
Format: MP3 (3.2 MB)

WildGoddess is a Native America performer based in Los Angeles. She writes and performs what she calls "New Tribal" music -- music that is rooted in Native tradition but has a contemporary flair. She is a multi-instrumentalist and her work has a definite feel of spirituality to it. The concept behind "Quiet (The Sea Island Mix)" is the Gullah people of the Sea Islands off of North Carolina.

Desert Rose by Cheb Mami & Sting
Format: Streaming RealAudio

Cheb Mami is one of the biggest stars of Rai, an Arabic genre of popular music. When Sting teamed up with Cheb Mami, this hit single climbed the charts and put Arabic music onto mainstream radio.

Amazing Grace by Voice of Golden Eagle
Format: MP3 (2.1M)

A traditional Christian hymn gets a Native American treatment. Native flutes sear the soul in this appropriate choice of a song about faith through suffering -- something about which the Native people know all too well.

Mupepe by Zap Mama
Format: RealAudio

Just listening to the acapella layers of hamonious voices of Zap Mama, an all-female group that combines African and Moroccan chants and scat sounds, is a captivating experience. At the core of the band is Marie Daulne, of Belgian and Bantu mixed roots. She lived with Pygmies to stay safe from Simba rebels who were out to kill interracial couples. She eventually ended up in Belgium where she was raised, teaming up with other vocalists including Sally Nyolo. And so, Zap Mama, was born.

The Dance of the Yi People by profile about Liu Fang piqued your interest, check out this MP3 sample of her music. Liu Fang is a virtuoso on the chinese classical stringed instruments pipa and guzheng. The Yi people are an ethnic minority in the province of Yunnan, where Fang grew up.

Makeda by Les Nubians
Format: Liquid Audio or RealAudio

Les Nubians is a duet of two sisters from France. Their vocal harmonies are backed up by a mix of contemporary hip-hop, jazz and pop styles, but also with a definite African influence. How extremely "Afro-pean!"

Malo Cantidad by Carlos Manuel
Format: MP3 (3.5 MB)

His smooth and sexy salsa is only one reason why Carlos Manuel is being hailed as the "bad boy" of Cuban music. With a reputation as a ladies' man and brooding good looks, it would be easy to write Manuel off as a shallow heartthrob. However, his use of tropical rhythms and songwriting skills add a level of depth to his Latin dancefloor style. "Malo Cantidad" is the title track of his second album, on which Manuel write about love, life and, of course, women.

Miyaabele by Baaba Maal
Format: MP3 (3.6 MB)

Mi Yeewnii (pronounced Me U-knee) is African singer/songwriter/performer Baaba Maal at his most traditional -- and best. The album was recorded in Senegal, where Maal is from. "Miyaabele" is just one example of the album's rhythmic and acoustic sound, full of African ambiance and energy.

I Believe in Love by Natalia Nazarova
Format: MP3 (4.5 MB)

A beautiful woman with a beautiful voice, this vocalist from Moscow performs a blend of pop and flugel horn.

Mantra (four songs down in list) by The Tibetan Lamas
Format: MP3 (4.8 MB)

With chant and sacred musical styles gaining more and more popularity over the past few years, it is no wonder that this song is one of the top downloads at Vitaminic, an international music MP3 site. "Mantra" begins with the tranquil sounds of birds chirping and evolves into swirling serenity, the melody driven by flutes and still backed up by the sounds of nature. These sounds of the Far East have the exact effect as implied by the title: this is music for meditation and contemplation.

Tolkien (The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings) (three songs down in list) by Brobdingnagian Bards
Format: MP3 (6.2 MB)

Known by fans as simply "The Bards," this Austin, TX duo combines almost comical lyrics and song themes to music steeped in Celtic and Renaissance traditions, complete with autoharp, recorder and mandolin. Many of their songs are steeped in fantasy literature, like this piece which is based on Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Zuba (scroll halfway down the page on the left hand side)
Format: MP3 (6.2 MB)

What started as a on-off concert to promote Liberia's struggles has become a unique band with a captivating sound. Zuba combines African roots with Reggae rhythms and Celtic influences. Since 1997 the band has toured in support of acts such as Papa Wemba and the James Taylor Quartet. A forthcoming CD will be launched where the band got its start: in Glasgow, Scotland!

Farfarié (third track on list halfway down the page) from Rick Wakeman & Mario Fasciano
Format: MP3 (2.6 MB)

Rick Wakeman is best known for his work with progressive rock bands such as YES and The Strawbs, as well as his own solo career. He has also worked with many artists such as Lou Reed and Black Sabbath, and with David Bowie and Elton John as an arranger. Mario Fasciamo is an Italian drummer who has performed with many Italian rick bands since the late 1960's. Together, Wakeman and Fasciano have released an album, A Quatte Mane, full of intense keyboard and percussion-driven instrumentals that borrow heavily from an Italian influence.

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