Bands/Musicians The Best World Music Artists  

Reference
2.6k votes 444 voters 50.5k views 350 items

World music is an easy way for people to describe the melding traditional and nontraditional music from foreign countries. Generally, world music refers to sounds from the non-Western part of the world. Known for its fusion, world music was term coined in the 1960s and also includes the incorporation of traditional instruments from other parts of the world that haven't been used primarily by Western artists. The beauty of World music artists is that their sound, while entrenched and grounded in Eastern music, it can mean any type of traditional sound as long as it's from there.

So, what are the best World music artists? Any list needs to have Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Jonathan Scales, Trilok Gurtu and Loreena McKennitt on any world music artists list. These are among the most well known artists in the genre and their music is as unique as any. They incorporate new age and foreign sounds that is not only unique, but allows for them to stand out from many of their contemporaries.

That said, it's up to you to decide what are the best World music artists. It's not an easy question, but ultimately it's your job to decide. If you notice someone is missing from the list, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best world music bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest world music musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular world music bands that you might've heard of. (350 items)

1
131 25
Ranker Video
RagaNet added Ashwin Batish Worldbeat, North Indian classical Sitar music, Raga Jazz - Legendary sitar maestro has just released his third World music album called “Sitar Power III.” Standout songs are 'Sitar Trek,' a raga rock out excursion and 'East Indian Meets West Indian,' an amazing calypso-n-raga fusion ...

2
50 21
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Qawwali, Ghazal, Fusion

3
44 19
Loreena McKennitt is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Loreena McKennitt New Age music, World music, Celtic music

4
47 29
Jonathan Scales is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Jonathan Scales World music, Jazz fusion, Jazz

5
20 8
Ali Farka Touré is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Ali Farka Touré Folk music, World music, Blues

6
31 18
John McLaughlin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best World Music Artists
John McLaughlin Kozmigroov, Rock music, World music

7
21 10
Ofra Haza is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Ofra Haza Ethnic electronica, Synthpop, Pop music

8
12 3
Ephemeral Mists is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best World Music Artists
vistacorran added Ephemeral Mists Ambient music

9
13 5
Dead Can Dance is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Dead Can Dance Neoclassical Dark Wave, Gothic rock, New Age music

10
17 9
Joe Zawinul is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Joe Zawinul Romantic music, World music, Jazz fusion

11
11 4
Niyaz is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Niyaz Folk music, World music, Electronic dance music

12
8 2
Idan Raichel is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Idan Raichel Pop music, Folk music, World music

13
10 4
Enya is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Enya New Age music, Folk music of Ireland, World music

14
18 12
L. Subramaniam is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best World Music Artists
L. Subramaniam Fusion, Carnatic music, World music

The All Time Greatest Muses in the Music World

15
18 12
Ladysmith Black Mambazo is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Ladysmith Black Mambazo Mbube, World music, Isicathamiya

16
13 8
Sultans of String is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Sultans of String World music, Instrumental

17
11 6
Dhafer Youssef is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Dhafer Youssef Qawwali, New Age music, World music

18
7 2
Kaizers Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Kaizers Orchestra Rock music, Gypsy punk, World music

19
7 2
John Zorn is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best World Music Artists
John Zorn Dark ambient, Noise rock, Klezmer

20
8 3
Gouri Choudhury is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Gouri Choudhury Indian pop, World music

21
12 7
Azam Ali is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Azam Ali New Age music, Rock music, World music

The Best Rappers of the 2000s

22
12 8
Trilok Gurtu is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Trilok Gurtu World music, Jazz fusion, Jazz

23
12 8
Edgar Meyer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Edgar Meyer World music, Classical music, Progressive bluegrass

24
11 7
Garaj Mahal is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Garaj Mahal Fusion, Rock music, World music

25
10 6
Inti-Illimani is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Inti-Illimani Andean music, Folk music, Latin American music

26
10 6
Brian Jones is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Brian Jones Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

27
9 5
Banzumana Sissoko is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Banzumana Sissoko World music

28
9 5
Clifford Borg is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Clifford Borg New Age music, World music

The Best K-pop Dancers of All Time

29
8 4
Afro Celt Sound System is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Afro Celt Sound System Ethnic electronica, Celtic fusion, Worldbeat

30
8 4
Jah Wobble is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Jah Wobble Experimental rock, World music, Dub

31
8 4
G. V. Prakash Kumar is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best World Music Artists
G. V. Prakash Kumar World music, Film score

32
8 4
Hindi Zahra is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Hindi Zahra Folk music, World music, Jazz

33
7 3
Bil Aka Kora is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Bil Aka Kora World music

34
7 3
DJ Desi is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best World Music Artists
DJ Desi World music, Bhangra, Techno

35
7 3
Alexz Johnson is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Alexz Johnson Indie, Classic rock, Pop music

The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

36
6 2
Hidayat Khan is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Hidayat Khan Bollywood, World music, Jazz fusion

37
6 2
Adrian Hates is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Adrian Hates Blues-rock, Gothic rock, World music

38
6 2
Jay Vaquer is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Jay Vaquer Pop music, World music, Pop rock

39
6 2
Babatunde Olatunji is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Babatunde Olatunji World music

40
6 2
Boban Marković is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Boban Marković World music, Jazz

41
6 2
Carlos Villalobos is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Carlos Villalobos Pop music, Rock music, Industrial rock

42
6 2
John Prior is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best World Music Artists
John Prior Fusion, Rock music, Orchestra

The Best Taylor Swift Songs

43
5 1
Manu Chao is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Manu Chao Ska, Rock music, Latin American music

44
5 1
Angélique Kidjo is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Ferry73 added Angélique Kidjo Worldbeat, Latin American music, World fusion music

45
5 1
Bulgarian State Radio & Televi... is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir Bulgarian music, Folk music, Music of the Republic of Macedonia

46
5 1
Banda Ionica is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Banda Ionica Folk music, World music, Italian folk music

47
5 1
Ismaël Lô is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Ismaël Lô Mbalax, Worldbeat, World music

48
4 0
Ravi Shankar is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Ferry73 added Ravi Shankar Film score, Hindustani classical music

49
4 0
Fela Kuti is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Ferry73 added Fela Kuti Highlife, Afrobeat

50
4 0
Ry Cooder is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best World Music Artists
Ferry73 added Ry Cooder Americana, Rock music, Latin American music