Last month marked my third time attending SXSW, the free-for-all music conference festival with a strong indie rock base. SXSW Global Vibe in 2005 I had attended several years ago to see what the fuss was about and to see... Read more →


Bob Marley comes across as the ultimate musical rebel, though everyone—from American frat boys to Malian army officers—loves his music. Wildly successful, Marley is an enigma: Someone who managed to put obscure local music on the world map; who turned... Read more →


Shakira seems to be the ultimate global music outlier, someone who's pop success puts her way beyond the normal career trajectory of even the most highly successful professional global musicians. She’s one of the top earners in pop music. She’s... Read more →


Vampire Weekend, the indie-rock band with a “world music” twist, has managed the seemingly impossible: hit a certain demographic—hipsters and indie fans, for example—with a barrage of media so intense, they felt ubiquitous, while also making respected African music critics’... Read more →


M.I.A. dominates a peculiar corner on the pop market, occupying an evolving niche chipped from transcultural hip hop, visions of the Global South (or the developing world, if you will), and the parallel universe of high-rolling hipster fashionistas and ironic... Read more →