At our last gig, Ron the Drummer and I did a CD exchange with percussionist Will Clipman, swapping a copy of Highways and Hiking Shoes for Pathfinder. I don't often listen to world music, but I liked Pathfinder. His music moved.
Tonight I played the album for my boyfriend. As he listened, he asked, "What is world music, anyway?"
That stumped me. I know it when I hear it, but I'm not sure how to define it.
"I mean," he continued, "what does world music exclude?"
Yeah, good point. This is the problem I had with the "alternative" label when alternative music was becoming a thing. Alternative to what? Everything is an alternative!
Oh, I know what they meant. But eventually alternative became mainstream in its own right. And the name didn't change.
This doesn't seem to bother anyone but me.
Sadly, the worst music genre name I know is the one we belong to: adult album alternative. At least "world music" and just plain "alternative" don't sound like they were invented by a marketing committee. Not as much, anyway.
Sometimes I try to come up with more descriptive terms for the kind of music we play. This hasn't gotten me very far. No one thinks "coffeehouse stadium rock" or "angst pop" are nearly as clever as I do.
Screw it. I'm just going to start making up words.
"So what kind of music do you play."
"Primarily lalago, but we dabble occasionally in free frizz."