What is it about pop music lists? There are hundreds of 'em. I found the following lists on -- what else -- a list of pop music lists. There's one of the Top European Music Festivals. There's one of the Top Reggae Hits. There's even a list of the Top Artists for the Terminally Uncool. Now, the British magazine "Songlines" has a list of its own. The 50th edition of "Songlines" lists 50 Great Moments in World Music.
A companion CD includes this performance by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan from the World of Music and Dance festival in 1985. Simon Broughton is editor-in-chief of Songlines.
BROUGHTON: I really hate lists in magazines; there is really not much to read and people argue and say, "hey, why isn't my favorite album there!' But, actually what I wanted was to take these 50 moments and tell meaty stories. I felt they had to be significant events in forming perhaps a new voice, a new style, a new identity in music. For instance, I wanted to include Gauhar Jan who was recorded in India in 1902. As far as we know she was the first Indian singer recorded in
WERMAN: Simon Broughton you also have on your list Nigerian Fela Kuti's response to the siege on his compound by then President Obansanjo. Also, Chilean singer-songwriter Victor Jara's last stance in Santiago before being killed.
There's another political moment I want you to tell us about that of Farhad Darya's return to Kabul after the Taliban fell. Why is he on your list?
BROUGHTON: I went to Afghanistan to do a documentary on the return of music to Kabul. I then went back a couple years later and met Farhad Darya and he was preparing for this huge concert. It took place in a football stadium, which was where the Taliban used for executions. It was sort of like a reclaiming of this ground.
WERMAN: Let's go out with you picking out your favorite moment and this involves the Romanian gypsy band Taraf de Haidouks. Johnny Depp presented them a World Music award. Why was this important?
BROUGHTON: Because a high profile figure like Johnny Depp has a passion for a gypsy Romanian band. The song "This song is about the demise of Ceausescu. It's a powerful song and I think does represent a very significant moment in Romanian music and world music in general.
1 The recording of couresan Gauhar Jan November, 1902
2 Amnesty International Human Rights Now! Tour September, 1989
3 Ibrahima Sylla records Salif Keita in Paris 1986
4 Franco forms OK Jazz June 6, 1936
5 Yothu Yindi record "Treaty" 1992
6 Ry Cooder releases "Chicken Skin Music" 1976
7 The arrival of YouTube 2005
8 Mano Negra's train ride across Colombia December, 1993
9 The beginning of Buena Vista Social Club March, 1996
10 Miriam Makeba addressing the United Nations July 16, 1963
11 Fela Kuti's response to the siege on his compound February 18, 1977
12 Farhad Darya returns to Kabul May 14, 2004
13 The term "world music" coined June 29, 1987
14 First edition of "The Rough Guide to World Music" published October, 1994
15 Rock n roll comes to India 1957
16 Silvio Rodriguez and Pablo Milanes perform in Argentina April, 1984
17 Stern's African Record Centre opens April 10, 1983
18 Cesaria Evora's big break December 14, 1991
19 Andy Palacio becomes UNESCO Artist for Peace November, 2007
20 World's first instrument 7,000 BC
21 The Holy Trinity Late 18th century 22 Bhundu Boys on cover of NME February 1987
23 Victor Jara's last stance September 14, 1973
24 Johnny Depp at the first Awards for World Music January 28, 2002
25 Rodrigo y Gabriela go for gold December 2007
26 The hunt for Taraf da Haidouks December 30, 1989
27 Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan at WOMAD July 20, 1985
28 Eugene Hutz & Madonna at Live Earth July 7, 2007
29 Gipsy Kings "Bamboleo" 1987
30 Alan Lomax hits the road 1933
31 Kronos Quartet begin "Pieces of Africa"
32 The One Love Peace Concert April 22, 1978
33 Andy Kershaw buys an Ali Farka Toure LP 1986
34 Reformation of Orchestra Baobab June 22, 2002
35 George Harrison plays sitar October 12, 1965
36 "The Girl from Ipanema" walks by 1962-3
37 Youssou premiers "Egypt" May 29, 2004
38 The beginning of tropicalia October 1967
39 Asia's first WOMAD August 30 - September 1, 1991
40 The beginning of the salsa craze August 1971
41 Ziryab arrives in Cordoba 822 AD
42 First field recordings March 15, 1890
43 The release of Mughal-e-Azam August 5, 1960
44 Khaled, Rachid Taha and Faudel perfrom "1, 2, 3 Soleils" in Paris September 26, 1998
45 Mali's first Festival in the Desert January 2001
46 Bismillah Khan plays at Indian Independence August 15, 1947
47 Japanese roots-rock gig September 22, 1990
48 The first WOMAD July 16-18, 1982
49 "Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares" released 1975
50 Paul Simon visits South AfricaFebruary 1985