Global Updates From World View
Music Around the World
By Carina Brossy, World View
Music is the universal language of mankind.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Throughout history, music has been used by civilizations all over the world to express beliefs and strengthen personal and social identities. Some claim it is the single most uniting factor in the world today, transcending gender, race, and creed to unite individuals from every walk of life. In this month’s Global Update, find out how much you know about music around the world, the history behind the masterpieces, and how your students can become more informed about an art form that helps define the cultures of the world and promote positive change.
Instructions: Match the following musical instruments with its corresponding country of origin from the word bank to the left. Answers are found at the bottom of the page.
1. Djembe – regional percussion instrument originating from the Mandinka people of this country. Traditionally crafted djembes are carved in one single piece from hollowed out hardwood trees. The drumheads are typically made from goatskin and more rarely can be antelope, zebra, deer, or calfskin.
2. Erhu – two string fiddle that can be traced back to this country from as early as the 7th century. The erhu is placed on the lap vertically. The left hand moves vertically to touch the strings for the right pitch while the left hand (with the bow) moves horizontally to make the sound. The erhu is mainly an instrument for melody and sounds similar to the human voice.
3. Sitar – plucked string instrument ubiquitous since the Middle Ages. It derives its resonance from sympathetic strings, a long hollow neck and a gourd resonating chamber. The instrument is balanced between the player's left foot and right knee.
4. Güiro – believed to have originated with the native Taino people from this island nation. The güiro is made by carving the shell of a gourd and carving parallel fluting on its surface. It is played by holding the güiro in the left hand with the thumb inserted into the back sound hole to keep the instrument in place. The right hand usually holds the scraper and plays the instrument.
5. Didgeridoo – known as the wooden trumpet or “drone pipe”, this wind instrument was developed by the indigenous population of this country at least 1,500 years ago. The instrument is traditionally made from Eucalyptus trees which have had their interiors hollowed out by termites or have died of other causes.
“Music can change the world because it can
change people.” ~ Bono (U2)
Global Music Project
Global Music Project is an international non-profit organization working to unite humanity through music and cultural awareness, thus bringing about collaboration and peace. Artists and participants strive to reach a global audience, preserving dying music in third world countries and inspiring support in areas facing social and/or economic crisis. globalmusicproject.org/
Oxfam International is focused on fighting the root causes of poverty at the international level. Among many other initiatives, Oxfam provides the opportunity for children ages 5-14 to celebrate music from around the world.
Putumayo World Music
Putumayo World Music introduces people to the music of the world, and, as their motto claims, is “guaranteed to make you feel good!” The company has committed more than $1 million dollars to worthwhile non-profit organizations around the world, supporting the communities from which the music originated. www.putumayo.com or www.putumayo.com/en/putumayo_kids.php
Silk Road Project
The Silk Road Project is a modern metaphor for the multicultural and interdisciplinary exchange once represented by the historic Silk Road trading route. This not-for-profit organization operates under the vision of connecting various cultures by bringing together artists and audiences from across the globe.
Urban Youth Empowerment
Hip Hop culture was founded on the ideals of peace, love, unity, and having fun, and is the genre now considered the “voice of youth.” The Global Awareness through Hip Hop Culture Program provides middle school and high school children the opportunity to express themselves through the writing and performing of Hip Hop.
PBS Kids – Maya and Miguel
Students can remix music using different world instruments.
War Child – Musician Emmanuel Jal
Listen to music from social activist and former child soldier Emmanuel Jal.
National Geographic – World Music
Introduce students to artists and music initiatives around the world.
World Wise Schools – Peace Corps
Lesson plans explain how music shapes the lives of individuals from across the globe.
Classroom guides explore music and its influences throughout history.
Global Music Lyrics
Discover lyrics from all genres and time periods.
PBS Music in the Classroom
Create a musical instrument and learn about rhythm, sound, and how music affects mood and the role it plays in our lives.
Using your Mac get instant access to over 100 realistic software instruments — pianos, strings, drums, guitars, horns, and more. Just create a new track, choose your instrument, and play.
Album Title: Breathing Under Water
Musicians: Anoushka Shankar and Karsh Kale
Genre: Blend of traditional Indian sitar and western contemporary music; guest performers include Sting and Norah Jones (Anoushka’s half sister)
Album Title: Putumayo’s Caribbean Playground
Musicians: Various musicians/singers from the Caribbean (Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, Guadeloupe, and more)
Genre: International Caribbean children’s music
In response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Putumayo is re-releasing Caribbean Playground and will be donating 100% of our proceeds from the sale of each CD to The Red Cross.
Album Title: Tanto Tempo
Musician: Bebel Gilberto
Genre: Brazilian jazz/samba
Album Title: Throw Down Your Heart
Musician: Béla Fleck
Genre: Blend of traditional bluegrass, banjo, and West African music
Album Title: Savvato
Musician: Giorgos Mazonakis
Genre: Greek modern laika; pop singer
Album Title: Shaka Zulu
Musicians: Ladysmith Black Mombazo
Genre: South African, Zulu traditional
Album Title: I Dreamed a Dream
Musician: Susan Boyle, Scottish (singer and star of Britain’s Got Talent competition)
Genre: Celtic, English and American ballads, spirituals