Before the world went global, it used to be local and regional- walking distances used to define the boundaries of human musical variety.
The Association for Cultural Equity has the mission “to stimulate cultural equity through preservation, research, and dissemination of the world’s traditional music, and to reconnect people and communities with their creative heritage.”
The ACE have a fantastic jukebox which allows us to surf the world’s sounds and music before the internet existed:
You can choose to experience it by geography or by culture.
One man who walked the earth in the 1900’s recording the incredible variety of human cultures was Alan Lomax- one of the first ethnomusicologists to make audio recordings of speech, song, chants, jokes and stories from around the world. His archives are a wonder, hearing how our culture was defined before the radio and television installed their reign of common denominators.
The Alan Lomax archives are a must-listen: Lomax Geo Archive
“Alan Lomax was a musicologist, writer and producer who spent his life researching and promoting unrecorded and unrecognized music, dance, and oral traditions. In order to reaffirm the beauty and unique value of folk traditions to their source communities and on the world stage, he developed a feedback approach to research, archiving, and dissemination. A tireless advocate, Lomax attempted to influence government policy on arts and culture at every level and addressed a white paper on national cultural policy to the National Endowment for the Humanities, stressing the need to support local, regional, and immigrant folklife. In 1972 UNESCO published his influential “Appeal for Cultural Equity” arguing the right of every culture to safeguard, express, and develop its artistic and expressive heritage.”
One way of hearing that music that used to be as diverse as the wild animals that roamed the world is to roam through the vast tundras of Wikipedia’s List of Cultural and Regional Genres of Music. It’s endless and fascinating as we were.