World Music | KCUR

World Music

E.G. Schempf

Western audiences have long been fascinated in the Balinese art form of gamelan, which honors tradition while embracing experimentation.

The music’s shimmering sound is instantaneously recognizable, a unique timbre resulting from pairs of detuned instruments after an entire ensemble has gone through an extensive tuning process. As the slightly different frequencies pulse against each other, it creates a beating effect called ombak.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Humans tend to take time and space as a given. We are assured that in 60 seconds, a minute will have passed; after 59 more it will have been an hour. We assume our living spaces will not suddenly develop new real estate behind the closet wall. We generally understand objects' physicality and can discern area through depth perception and touch. Most of us (author not included) are aware enough of the actual reach of our limbs so as not to knock fragile objects to floors.

singitonline / Flickr

What exactly is "world music"? Does it include songs that are sung in different languages ... or even bluegrass? As the Folk Alliance International conference gets underway in Kansas City, we explore what this nebulous term means to an ethnomusicology professor and two local musicians.

Guests:

elmamboworld.com

Miguel DeLeon is a man of many aliases. To some, he's El Mambo. To others, El Pionero. After nearly three decades leading Latin bands and teaching music in Kansas City, he moved to Phoenix, but he's back for a visit, playing gigs and teaching an Afrocuban drumming workshop. 

The University of Kansas is hosting the Africa World Documentary Film Festival this Thursday, April 10 through Saturday, April 12.

The convener of that festival, Daniel Atkinson, visited the KCUR studios to talk about the films he chose to show and the ideas he hoped to convey through the wide range of stories these documentaries tell.