World Music Foundation Podcast

A podcast that explores the beauty and connectedness of musical cultures around the world. 

Through long form conversations with top musicians and deep-dive spotlight episodes, our podcast explores amazing people and music from every part of the globe.

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Season 1, Episode 11


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Praised for her dynamic, passionate conducting style, Taiwanese-American conductor Mei-Ann Chen is acclaimed for infusing orchestras with energy, enthusiasm and high-level music-making, galvanizing audiences and communities alike. In our conversation we follow her musical evolution from shy violin player in her birth country, Taiwan, to dynamic, trailblazing, internationally sought-after conductor. Mei-Ann also shares the inspirational interaction with Martin Luther King that inspired the creation of the MacArthur Award-winning, Chicago Sinfonietta, the nations most diverse orchestra, of which she is the principle conductor and music director.

Season 1, Episode 10


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Last week, we spoke with Brian & Leila Pertl, and members of the Music Education Team, who have helped design the Mile of Music Festival, especially the cultural education components. This week, we’re speaking with the teaching-musicians themselves to learn about Afro-Cuban Drumming, Mariachi, Ghanaian Drumming, and Native American Flute. We attended a few sessions ourselves during the festival and spoke with these artists afterwards.

Season 1, Episode 9


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We were delighted to discover the Mile Of Music Festival, which curates international music workshops alongside concerts of Americana and Folk music. Several of the Americana acts were imported nationwide and even internationally, but all of the international music is taught by people from within their small Appleton community. So which music is ‘local’?? We attended this 3 day festival, attended the workshops and spoke with the organizers to fully understand the blurring of this dichotomy.

Season 1, Episode 8


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Jess Sah Bi & Peter One, musicians from Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa, recall hearing the harmonies and guitars of Simon and Garfunkel and Cat Stevens for the first time and how that impacted their music from that point onward. In our conversation they take us through the creation of their landmark African-Country-Folk inspired album Our Garden Needs Its Flowers from their initial search for a producer to now the recent reissue, 30 years later, by Awesome Tapes From Africa.

Season 1, Episode 7


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Pamyua’s musical footprint, spanning two decades and several countries, is a testament to the ongoing vibrancy of Inuit music, the group members, and their unique heritage. Brothers Phillip and Stephen Blanchett speak from the heart on issues of identity, culture and music expressed through Pamyua (pronounced bum-yo-ah) with collaborators Ossie Kairaiuak and Karina Moeller. They are preservers of an amazing musical tradition that is still alive but has historically been marked for extinction and continues, to this day, to face the threat of becoming lost.

Season 1, Episode 6


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Chicago’s own Zeshan B’s fearlessness as an individual translates into music that knows no boundaries and takes from a wider range of influences than we may be used to hearing in one musician’s discography. In 2017 he released Vetted, his debut album, to critical acclaim. He made his national TV debut that same year on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Since then he’s been touring and preparing for his next release. We talk about his experience in music education, his current project, and how we all share an inherent hunger for groovy music.

Season 1, Episode 5


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Originally from Costa Rica and Iran respectively, Jorge Strunz and Ardeshir Farah have brought the musical influences of their native lands into their highly virtuosic, rhythmic, and improvisation-rich original instrumental compositions, inspiring fans and many guitarists worldwide. Their meeting in 1979 in Los Angeles, where they are still based, marked the first time that Latin American and Middle Eastern music, along with other important elements, came together on the guitar. Our conversation touches on all of these points and more. Enjoy!

Season 1, Episode 4


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Aashish Khan is the eldest exponent of an Indian Classical music lineage that reaches all the way back to the court of Mughal emperor Akbar the Great. He takes us back to the creation of his pioneering Indo-Jazz fusion band, Shanti, in the early 1970s, he shares about his new project Shringar, and reveals that he has a literal treasure trove of unreleased recordings, including a track that he recorded with George Harrison, Eric Clapton and others.

Season 1, Episode 3


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Thomas Brooman has always had a vision of a smaller musical world — from his early years spent among fellow awe-struck concertgoers during the European Rock & Roll boom, to his later work cultivating a collective of artists as co-founder of the globally inspired World of Music Arts and Dance festival (WOMAD). We talk about the relationship between musicians and international markets, and get a behind-the-scenes look into his involvement in the creation of the term ‘World Music’- in all of its complexities.

Season 1, Episode 2


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Our second episode brings us to a small town in the Northern part of the U.S. where we, surprisingly, find a deep Blues history. We follow Paramount Records through the peak of success, recording landmark artists that changed Western popular music forever, but this music, at several times, was almost lost forever. We follow the thin thread of events and recent efforts that have gone into preserving this important musical history.

Season 1, Episode 1


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Dave Pietro’s curiosity and workmanship have been the foundation of his decade’s long career as an internationally touring Jazz musician. He explains the value of truly listening— even if what you’re hearing confuses or frightens you at first. We touch on his gigging history starting in New York, his new album New Road: Iowa Memoirs, and how immersing oneself in a culture can fundamentally change your understanding of pretty much everything.