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World Music

Supported by an internationally renowned faculty and robust list of guest lecturers, the School of Music offers world music courses and ensembles for everyone, from the elective music student to the graduate music major.

world music area gamelan


Akosua Addo
Scott Currie
Sowah Mensah
Fernando Meza
Matt Rahaim
Joko Sutrisno


While world music can be found woven throughout the repertoire various ensembles at the School of Music, the following opportunities focus specifically on performing and understanding world music traditions. These ensembles are open to any member of the University community: African Drumming Ensemble, Javanese Gamelan Ensemble, Steel Pan Ensemble, or World Music Ensemble. Learn more about joining a World Music Ensemble.

Academic Courses

World Music. This class is open to all students and includes lectures, in-class music making, guest artists, videos, listening. Students musical practice and meaning around the world and in our backyard, as well as world music styles and perspectives in a cultural context. This course satisfies the Arts/Humanities and Global Perspective Requirement. Register for MUS 1804-001.

American Music Cultures. Explore folk, country, gospel, blues, polka, klezmer, powwow, mariachi, and salsa to understand the ways in which ethnic identities coalesce and find expression in sound. Music cultures of nationally prominent European-, African-, Asian-, and Latin-American ethnic groups, and local communities in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. This course satisfies the Arts/Humanities; Diversity and Social Justice in the U.S. Register for MUS 3029.

Music, Society and Cultures. Study rural, urban, tribal musics throughout world with interdisciplinary methods of humanities/social sciences, and World-wide distribution of musical creativity with audio/video documentation. This course is open to students who are actively pursuing an undergraduate degree program at the School of Music. The course satisfies the Arts/Humanities, Global Perspectives, and Writing Intensive requirements for CLA undergrads. Register for MUS 1801W.

Topics and Seminars. Each term, the music faculty offer a variety of special offerings on specific topics for students in advanced stages of their music and research studies.


Students can incorporate world music in many of the music degree programs offered at the School of Music.  However, the following degree programs students the opportunity to make world music a focus of their study:

Guest Artists

The School of Music is honored to welcome guest artists, who provide invaluble insight on global music traditions and cultures through their artistry and expertise. Past guests have included:

Essam Rafea, Syrian Oud Master

Johnny Way-sa-quo-nabe Smith, Ojibwe Keeper of the Drum

Michael Sullivan, Ojibwe Singer and Linguist

Tim Eriksen, Sacred Harp Singer

Bernard Woma, Ghanian Master Musician

Diyah Larasati, Javanese Dancer

Colleen Bertsch, Balkan Fiddler

Ahmed Ismaili Yusuf, Somali Poet

Maryan Mursal, Somali Pop Star

Beyond the School of Music

Music is a popular topic on campus!  We encourage you to look to our colleagues in CLA departments who regularly offer courses that address music as a topic of study: American Studies; Anthropology; Communication Studies; Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature; Geography; and Theatre Arts and Dance.