wurld muzikaI hate "world music" like the US is some thriving entity of culture and then there's everything else.
that said, calling it World Music is the easiest way to delineate where you'll find it in your record store, and what kind of dichotomy your familiars online might apply to it.
Much of my exposure to music by unamerican folks came from Howard, after a few summers in his office with Ali Farka Toure and Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn, I decided the Era of International Music was upon us.
Best thing to come out of that hype: I wrote that piece one night and the next day I took a cab in Chicago to get my eyes checked out and I decided to ask my cab driver what music he listened to, since I'd just written that notion. He was from central Africa somewhere, perhaps Nigeria? and he strongly recommended "Fela" - who's just bombin'. the James Brown of Africa he told me, and he's right.
A lot of these foreign cats, they take stuff you thought was American and they just style it out until it's something they own and they'll break it down until you're dancing or crying, what have you.
along the crying lines, when I was in high school I loved to listen to the soundtrack to Akira by Geinoh Yamashirogumi. Fantastic meditative music, modern energy with old buddhist instruments. I asked a Japanese friend Tetsuo Hoshino to track down any more of their music but it looks like that soundtrack was a one shot deal.
loop guru is extremely diggable: mellow and transcendant, beautiful.