The World Music Library - Seth Katz

Is anyone else seeking out the fine CDs in the World Music Library (King Record Company of Japan) series? Friends and I have been buying these CDs for a while now, as they appear. Tower stocks a few in all bay area locations, and so does Amoeba.

Almost all the CDs are over an hour, with a lot over 70 minutes. They are uniformly of excellent sound quality. This is in part due to their willingness to fly entire groups and soloists to their studio in Tokyo (most notably an entire Turkish marching band- each instrument of which is represented by 9 players). But the location recordings of Thai, Vietnamese, and other material are also flawless. Each CD has a map of the world, pointing out where the music included is from.

There are something like 70 CDs in the series thus far. I do not have even half. Overall, there's little risk in buying them. The only one I've been disappointed with so far is the Nigerian Beat/Twins Seven Seven- but not for its production values. Prices range from $12.99 to $15.99 around San Francisco.

On the down side, there is rarely much information, at least in English, about the players, and photos are usually of the instruments.

Some of my favorite CDs in the series:

But try any of them- Sundanese Classical Music, Music of Iraq, Music of Myanmar, etc. You won't be sorry.

Unit Circle Music