Playlist:  World Music 101: Ethnographic Video for the Classroom, Part I by Jenna Makowski, Alexander Street Press

The videos in this playlist map onto commonly taught musical styles and traditions in basic undergraduate world music classes. Geographic coverage includes Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Duration / Pages
Date added
A Griot's Story
directed by Adam Rozanski; produced by Ozumi Films (New York, NY: Filmakers Library, 2008), 56 mins  
Africa: Burkina Faso. Griot Traditions. Griots are wandering African musicians considered to be a repository of the oral tradition. This film focuses on a master drummer, Adame Drama of Burkina Faso, a descendant of a long line of griots. He is a contemporary griot whose mission in life is to preserve his heritage and pass it on the next generation.
11 Nov 2014
Living Cultures, The Baaka Opera
directed by Jean Queyrat, fl. 2001, in Living Cultures (Paris, Ile-de-France: ZED (Film production), 2006), 51 mins  
Africa: Central African Republic. Pygmie Culture and Music. In the heart of Central Africa's equatorial forest live the Baaka pygmies. Their life is a never-ending song that expresses their intense spirituality and their deep communion with the forest. Produced under the High Patronage of Unesco, this film follows the daily lives of a group of Baaka, whose lives revolve around hunting, honey gathering and singing.
11 Nov 2014
Listen to the Silence
directed by Peter Bischof; produced by Loke Film (New York, NY: Filmakers Library, 2002), 53 mins  
Africa: Ghana. Ewe and Ashanti Polyrhythms. This documentary explores the nature of West African polyrhythms. Viewers are introduced to the textures of rhythms of the Ewe, Ashanti, Ga and Frafra peoples of Ghana, where music is a communal, integral element of social interaction.
11 Nov 2014
Joseph Shabalala and Isicathamiya, from The New South Africa: A Personal Journey
produced by Tug Yourgrau and Joel Olicker (New York, NY: Filmakers Library, 1996), 1 hour 5 mins  
Africa: South Africa. Isicathamiya. Leader of Ladysmith Black Mambazo speaks of the importance of Zulu cultural traditions and the role music has played in identity and society in post-Apartheid South Africa.
11 Nov 2014
Gweru Women AIDS Prevention Project and the Mbira in Zimbabwe
directed by Jiri Novak, fl. 2012 and Otto Kallus, fl. 2011, in Unusual Cultures (New York: Big Media, 2012), 26 mins  
Africa: Zimbabwe. Mbira. The mbira, or thumb piano, is an integral component of Shona traditions, history and daily life. Here the instrument is introduced as an element of an AIDS prevention program in a Zimbabwean village.
11 Nov 2014
Treasure of the Lisu
directed by Yan Chun Su, fl. 2006-2016; produced by Yan Chun Su, fl. 2006-2016, Waterdrop Films (Watertown, MA: Documentary Educational Resources (DER), 2010), 30 mins  
Asia: China. Traditional Instrument-Making. This documentary takes viewers into the world of Ah-Cheng, a master musician who is the last person with the knowledge to make the Chiben, an emblematic four-string lute, central to his people's culture.
11 Nov 2014
Singing Between Two Worlds - Learning Traditional Music in the Heart of Modern India
directed by Ian Hardy (New York, NY: Filmakers Library, 2002), 26 mins  
Asia: India. Classical South Indian Singing Traditions. This is a warm portrait of one of the most revered families in India, in which the cherished tradition of dhrupad vocal music is passed from father to son.
11 Nov 2014
Jero Tapakan, Releasing the Spirits: A Village Cremation in Bali
written by Linda Connor, 1944-, Patsy Asch and Timothy Asch, 1932-1994; directed by Timothy Asch, 1932-1994, Linda Connor, 1944- and Patsy Asch; produced by Linda Connor, 1944-, Patsy Asch and Timothy Asch, 1932-1994, in Jero Tapakan (Watertown, MA: Documentary Educational Resources (DER), 1979), 43 mins  
Asia: Indonesia. Gamelan and Cremation Rituals. Cremation ceremonies are the most elaborate rite of passage performed in Balinese households, with extravagant processions, costume, food, and gamelan accompaniment.
11 Nov 2014
The Musical Steppes of Mongolia
written by Alain Desjacques, 1956-; directed by Heidi Draper, fl. 1994; produced by Heidi Draper, fl. 1994, Heidi Draper Production (New York, NY: Filmakers Library, 1995), 51 mins  
Asia: Mongolia. Throat Singing. Alain Desjacques, a well-known ethnomusicologist, takes us on a pilgrimmage to find and record the best traditional musicians and singers on the steppes of Mongolia. We hear part of an epic song which takes the singer seven days to perform, completely from memory. The venerable flutist, Narantsogt, performs inside his yurt, producing diphonic sounds that mimic nature.
11 Nov 2014
Living Cultures, The Quest for the Gongs
directed by Jérôme Segur, fl. 2001; produced by Manuel Catteau, fl. 2007, in Living Cultures (Paris, Ile-de-France: ZED (Film production), 2006), 51 mins  
Asia: Vietnam. Gong-Making. In the mountains of the southeast Vietnam, Ma Bio, a Chu Ru woman, is one the few people who plays the gong, an ancestral drum considered an Oral Masterpiece of Human Heritage by Unesco. She teaches the gong to the young generation of her village.
11 Nov 2014
Flamenco: The World of Paco Peña
directed by Herbert Chappell, 1934-; performed by Paco Peña, 1942- (BBC Worldwide, 1977), 48 mins  
Europe: Spain. Flamenco. Filmed during the annual fiesta in Cordoba, where he grew up, the brilliant young Andalucian guitarist performs an exciting, colourful and informative programme on Spain's national dance, featuring some of Spain's foremost flamenco musicians.
11 Nov 2014
Whose Is This Song?
written by Adela Peeva; directed by Adela Peeva; produced by Paul Pauwels, fl. 2003 and Slobodan Milovanovich, fl. 2003 (Documentary Educational Resources (DER), 2003), 1 hour 10 mins  
Europe: Balkans. Folk Song Origins. In her search for the true origins of a haunting melody, the filmmaker travels to Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia, Serbia and Bulgaria. The trip is filled with humor, suspense, tragedy and surprise as each country's citizens passionately claim the song to be their own and can even furnish elaborate histories for its origins.
11 Nov 2014
Oh, You Black Bird: The Forgotten Holocaust of the Romanies
written by B. Rychik; directed by B. Rychik; produced by Czech Television (New York, NY: Filmakers Library, 2001), 59 mins  
Europe: The Czech Republic. Roma Communities and Culture. Although it is acknowledged that the Gypsies were the victims of the Nazi scourge, this downtrodden group has seldom told its story to the outside world. The Gypsies put their suffering into mournful songs which survive today. The film is laced with their music and their memories.
11 Nov 2014
Europe: Switzerland. Yodelling Traditions. Performances of the local musical tradition and the official folklore are shown in their social contexts. Singers of both styles discuss the differences between their practices.
11 Nov 2014
A Kabul Music Diary
directed by John Baily, fl. 1973 (London, England: Royal Anthropological Institute, 2003), 52 mins  
The Middle East: Afghanistan. Post-Taliban Musical Landscapes. Ethnomusicologist John Baily returns to Kabul to see what is happening in the world of music one year after the defeat of the Taliban. The film documents a variety of musical activities, including performances of rubab lute music by Kabul's traditional musicians, songs of Afghan orphans, the Music Department of Kabul university and a student pop group playing electric guitars and keyboard. Implicitly, the film identifies some of the dilemmas facing those seeking to help Afghans rebuild their music culture.
11 Nov 2014
Across the Border: Afghan Musicians exiled in Peshawar
directed by John Baily, fl. 1973 (London, England: Royal Anthropological Institute, 2008), 54 mins  
The Middle East: Afghanistan. Music and Refugees. This documentary, directed by John Baily, features Afghanistan musicians exiles in Peshawar.
11 Nov 2014
Herat Films: The Annual Cycle of Music in Herat
directed by John Baily, fl. 1973; produced by John Baily, fl. 1973 (London, England: Royal Anthropological Institute, 1983), 54 mins  
The Middle East: Afghanistan. Traditional Genres and Styles. These videos were edited from seven hours of Super 8 film shot by John Baily during two years of ethnomusicological fieldwork carried out in the Herat region of western Afghanistan between 1973 and 1977. The films are of special interest because of the damage suffered by this region during many years of civil war.
11 Nov 2014
directed by Bahman Ghobadi, 1969- (Jeonju International Film Festival, 2003), 39 mins  
The Middle East: Iran. Instrument-Making. This simple but affecting documentary portrays a rural craftsman who makes a traditional Iranian percussion instrument called a daf. All able-bodied family members participate in the production, including a blind son, whom we see hitching a ride to market with his sister to purchase the sheep skins and wood planks used in the instrument's manufacture.
11 Nov 2014
Sufi Soul
directed by Simon Broughton; produced by Carl Simons (Brighton, England: Electric Sky, 2005), 50 mins  
11 Nov 2014
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