World fusion, also known as "global fusion" or "world beat," is a catchall term for the many crosscultural musical collaborations that fuse Western pop with indigenous pop and folk traditions from around the world. Often these fusions are the result of collaborations between Western musicians and local stars, such as Paul Simon's acclaimed 1986 album, Graceland, which featured several South African artists, including Zulu choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Other Western pop stars who turned on to non-Western sounds include Peter Gabriel, who founded the influential Real World label and helped bring Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour and Pakistani legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to the world's attention; and David Byrne, who founded the hip Luaka Bop label in order to bring the lesser-known pop styles of Brazil to international audiences.
At the same time, a younger cadre of musicians, weaned on punk, new wave, hip-hop and electronica, have been applying these genres' postmodern, mix-and-match aesthetics to their music, gleefully appropriating non-Western sounds for their audio bricolage. Such artists as England's 3 Mustaphas 3, France's Manu Chao, Spain's Ojos de Brujo and the groundbreaking Belgian group Zap Mama have all used the music of other cultures as part of their artistic palette.
Perhaps more interesting is how an even younger generation of artists, raised on Western pop and the sounds of their own cultures, has turned the world-fusion aesthetic inside out. Often ethnic minorities living in Western host countries, these artists subvert the "exoticism" of world music by feeding it back into the mainstream. Artists such as Rachid Taha, Talvin Singh and M.I.A. turn their outsider status into an artistic statement.
Finally, DJs and electronic and hip-hop artists, such as Sidestepper, Ojos de Brujo and the late Suba, ravenously recombined sounds from all over the planet to concoct a truly globalized, 21st-century music. Tom Pryor