What are some good ways of discovering traditional music from around the world? When I try to find music from other cultures, I usually wind up finding:

1) Westernized pop music from those countries

2) Some short sample of that music (which may be from a documentary)

The issue is that even if I use a resource like Wikipedia to find the traditional genres from a country, I do not find the music itself since I do not know what to search for; I do not know how to find the artists and the songs.

  • Hi. Could you give a feedback on what people answered below?
    – Bebs
    May 31, 2017 at 9:14

3 Answers 3


Have a look at fRoots - it's a magazine - available in the UK - maybe overseas as well.

Also, take a look at WOMAD - even if there's no festival that you can make it to, the descriptions of the bands playing (and the links to their websites) can be quite useful.

I used to get 'sampler' CDs from Cooking Vinyl who seemed to have lots of international roots artists on their books - they may have gone a little 'mainstream' now but it's worth trawling about their archives.


One idea would be to search for the traditional instruments of a country, and then look for performances of music using those instruments.

For example, if we search for traditional Korean instruments, a prominent one you'll learn about is the gayageum.

If you then do a web search for traditional gayageum videos, the first hit on google is currently https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfTxj8IYMpY, which sounds like a traditional piece to me.

Another way would be to translate the phrase 'traditional music' (or 'folk music', etc.) into the language of the country you're interested in. Sticking with Korea, google translate tells us this is 전통 음악. Again, the first 'hit' for searching google videos for 전통 음악 is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NER5qPiFG-s, which is probably within the scope of what you'd be looking for.

You might have trouble searching for traditional music by artist - often the pieces in question will have no known composer. However, if you search for traditional songs or traditional dances of a nation, you should be able to turn up some representative folk music.


A lot of good public libraries with collections of CDs have a section for "world" music, sorted by country. Find one near you and work your way through it.

  • I've found a lot of good music this way.
    – Duston
    Jan 6, 2021 at 14:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.