During the 1990’s, the term and catchall categorization of “world music” helped international talents—such as Cesaria Evora, Buena Vista Social Club and several others who fell outside of western mainstream genres like pop, hip hop and R&B—gain a foothold into the broader music market. But today, with critically acclaimed artists like A Tribe Called Red, that mix indigenous sounds with hip hop and EDM, and French/Cuban sisters, Ibeyi, marrying island beats with R&B, the term world music seems to be far less relevant.
Bridging the gap for artists who draw from indigenous or ethnic/culturally specific sources, and mainstream recognition, is the music festival Mundial Montréal. Now over 7-years old, artists such as Tanya Tagaq, Iskwé, as well as the artists mentioned above, have all showcased at the event, often before receiving wider international attention. The five artists featured in this piece are standouts of the latest edition of Mundial, each creating music that is both disarming and intimate.