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World Music Legends

Ofra Haza
"She was a fantastic performer on stage. That warmth and that energy and that beauty came through fully."
-Jonathan More
By Bill Murphy

Toots Hibbert
Fusing the sounds of soul, gospel, funk, rock, and ska into a reggae framework, Toots And The Maytals first recorded at Studio One in the early '60s with the Skatalites as their backing band. Since then, Toots Hibbert has remained a galvanizing live performer who never rests on his laurels.
By Matt Scheiner

Buena Vista Social Club
It took a series of happy accidents to reignite the careers of some of Cuba's oldest recording stars, but once the fuse was lit, Buena Vista Social Club somehow became the statement of a generation.
By Bill Murphy

Steve Barrow
Reggae has left such an indelible impression on Blood and Fire Records’ A&R pro Steve Barrow that not only can the passionate 60-year-old remember the first time he heard the music but the first reggae single he ever purchased—and for a man with 22,000 7-inch singles, that’s no easy feat.
By Matt Scheiner

Paco de Lucia
Hailed by critics and peers as the greatest living flamenco guitarist, Paco de Lucía’s name elicits reverence among musicians and guitar fans from nearly every musical genre.
By Robert Kaye

Mickey Hart
As the Rhythm Devils prepared to hit the road with guitarist Steve Kimock, Phish bassist Mike Gordon and others, Hart reminisced about when foreign rhythms first cast their spell on him.
By Wes Orshoski

Ry Cooder
Ry Cooder will forever be remembered for his production and guitar playing on the Buena Vista Social Club album and Ali Farka Touré’s Talking Timbuktu.
By Tad Hendrickson

Mavis Staples
Few people embody the feminist adage “the personal is political” more than Mavis Staples.
Style: Gospel
By Chris Heim

Bebo Valdés
In 88 years, Valdés has gone from house bandleader and innovator to expat lounge player to a Grammy-winning elder statesman.
Style: Latin jazz
By Lissette Corsa

Pete Seeger
He’s 87 now, but Pete Seeger remains as relevant as ever. The folk music icon enjoyed renewed visibility in 2006 as the inspiration for Bruce Springsteen’s We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions.
Style: Folk
By Jim Bessman

Steel Pulse
Few and far between are the bands named for race horses, especially bands that have won Grammy awards and created political stirs with their music. But Steel Pulse has never run with the pack.
Style: Reggae
By Chris Nickson

Umm Kulthum
When she died in 1975, four million people lined the streets of Cairo for her funeral. Her name was Umm Kulthum, and she was the greatest Arabic singer of the 20th Century.
Style: Arabic
By Chris Nickson

Lord Kitchener
Some people think of calypso as a light musical form. In Trinidad, however, it’s serious business, especially at Carnival time. It’s a musical style that boasts its own great names, and they don’t come any bigger than Lord Kitchener.
Style: Calypso
By Chris Nickson

Franco
The nickname “Sorcerer of the Guitar” fits Franco like a glove. His imaginative, lightning-fast fretwork helped shape Congolese rumba into its recognizable form.
Style: Afro-Cuban
By Chris Nickson

Ray Barretto
Few musicians can boast a career as varied, lengthy and influential as Ray Barretto.
Style: Latin
By Tom Pryor

Rubén Blades
Rubén Blades has expanded a musical genre, acted, gained an advanced degree in international law, and run for the presidency of his homeland.
Style: Latin
By Chris Nickson

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