Here are some tracks that Mickey Hart particularly recommended.
My Seven: CDs to Start Your World Music Collection
Photograph by Scott Harrison (left); John Werner
The Gyuto Monks (right) and Mickey Hart, percussionist for the Grateful Dead, ethnomusicologist
Some musicians just want to play music. Mickey Hart wants to save it.
An advocate for the preservation of global music, Hart has lent his name to a series of world music recordings and established a fund to help funnel royalties back to the artists. Here are his recommendations for starting your own world music collection (including recordings he helped produce).
1. Freedom Chants From the Roof of the World, The Gyuto Monks Imagine a single human voice sustaining up to three notes simultaneously. That's the sonic miracle of the Gyuto monks, recorded when they came to North America from Tibet to chant for the freedom of their nation and oppressed people worldwide. (released in 1989)
2. Drums of Passion, Babatunde Olatunji A magical session of West African trance music by a Nigerian drummer who would become my mentor. Hearing his music changed my life. (1959, reissued 2002)
3. Sarangi: The Music of India, Ustad Sultan Khan A recording of an informal performance in California by some of India's greatest musicians. Sensual sounds that never grow old. (1974, reissued 1988)
4. Honor the Earth Powwow: Songs of the Great Lakes Indians The Ojibwa, Menominee, and Winnebago perform at a powwow deep in the Wisconsin forest. (1986, reissued 1991)
5. The Music of Upper and Lower Egypt Six works of folk music I recorded in Aswan and Alexandria while the Grateful Dead toured Egypt. Music for the gods. (1978, reissued 1988)
6. Voices of the Rainforest Field recordist Steven Feld weaves a 24-hour cycle of primal sounds by the Kaluli people of Papua New Guinea into 60 essential minutes. (1991)
7. Mbuti Pygmies of the Ituri Rainforest Often singing in rounds and accompanied by handmade flutes, these voices will carry you to places unknown. I first heard the sounds of the Pygmies as a boy. For me this music is dream time. (1957, reissued 1992)