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Join us on a hip-wiggling, musical journey as we explore the sounds and rhythms from across the globe from North to South and East to West. Discover a wealth of musical styles that are at the beating heart of cultural and exotic locations.
Music has been an integral part of global culture for millennia, uniting ethnic communities and nations and allowing us to express our identity. Cultural diversity is often defined by music that provides a sensory experience of each place we visit, from the distinctive drums of Africa to the salsa of Cuba.
Much of the music from around the world derives from genres with American roots, from blues and rock and roll to jazz.
Incorporating the United States, Canada and Mexico, North America is a diverse continent made up of 23 countries. As you can imagine, North America is a wonderful concoction of musical styles, including country, rock, blues, folk, pop, jazz and classical.
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Although Mexico might conjure up images of moustached men in sombreros playing mariachi music, there are so many more genres that make up the country’s musical culture. The more traditional genres include Corrido, Ranchera and Banda while more contemporary styles include Chicano rap, Latin rock and pop music.
Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that celebrates deceased loved ones in the form of a vibrant festival that takes place each year. This fabulous event lets you explore the country’s culture and traditions as well as the music of Mexico that dates back to the Aztecs.
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Known for its Latin influenced music that will undoubtedly get you on your feet, the vibrant island of Cuba is home to the salsa, rumba, mambo, cha cha cha and conga to name a few. The lively rhythms and undeniable energy have placed Cuba firmly on the map for being one of the most famous musical countries.
Cuban street music
If the mere thought of Cuban music stirs you to do your thing on the dance floor, you’ll love our Taste of Cuba Tour which gives you the opportunity to learn salsa in Trinidad.
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From Argentina’s seductive sounds of the tango and the toe-tapping beats of the Bossa Nova to the upbeat rhythms of Chile’s cueca, South America boasts some of the world’s most distinctive and diverse sounds. With much of its roots in Latin American, South American music has captured the hearts of many countries with infectious rhythms that penetrate your soul.
Peru also has a huge range of music genres, but it’s the traditional Andean folk music that really speaks to its people with its panpipes and charangos. The Festival of the Sun is one of South America’s most notable events combining Peruvian music and authentic folk dances.
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Made up of seven countries, Central America boasts fascinating cultures dating back 4,000 years. African and European music are among the greatest musical influences of this continent with drums such as congas, bongos and timpani forming much of the rhythmic sounds.
The marimba (similar to a large xylophone) is a traditional instrument played in Guatemala that gives the music a unique African sound.
Largely influenced by the music from the Caribbean, Belize enjoys varied sounds and genres such as reggae, Creole and Punta. The upbeat melodies and drumbeats of Central America are an integral part of the culture here.
Folk music plays a large part of Costa Rica’s heritage, bringing guitars and irresistible rhythms together to create distinctive sounds. As well as folk music, Costa Rica enjoys salsa, merengue, cumbia, bolero and reggae.
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As you can imagine, being such a vast continent with so many ethnic groups, Africa is home to some of the richest and most varied music in the world.
As well as bringing communities and cultures together, music is performed in rituals and to convey important stories and messages. When we think of African music, percussion features heavily with congas, bongos and shakers creating infectious rhythms.
Traditional music of Botswana, known as Tswana, often involves hand-clapping and stringed instruments such as the segaba and the setinkane. In contrast, Morocco fuses Arabian style music with Spanish folk music, and Gnawa, Rai and Chaabi make up the diverse musical genres.
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Being the largest continent, Asia is the most diverse, not only in regards to its geography and nature but also its culture and music scene. From the soothing Japanese and Chinese folk songs to more contemporary pop music, the music of Asia is equally as intoxicating as the exotic landscapes and exuberant cities.
India is famous for a wide range of styles, including Punjabi, classical, rock, pop and, of course, Bollywood. Some of the more familiar-sounding instruments associated with Indian music are the tabla, sarinda and sitar.
The Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan welcomes music as a huge part of its culture, with folk, ballads and sacred music being most prevalent. The Festivals of Bhutan Tour lets you witness the vibrant music, dance and costumes first hand.
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Playing Asian music
From the seductive sounds of the flamenco with its lively classical guitar to the upbeat tempos of Irish folk music, Europe has a wealth of genres and styles to discover. From one country to the next, you’ll find a total contrast of sounds.
The traditional music of Greece is as old as the country itself and takes influences from the Roman, Byzantium and Renaissance eras, while on the other side of the continent, Swedish music stems from Nordic folk and you’ll often hear instruments such as the accordion, clarinet and fiddle playing the melodies.
Just as cultures have developed throughout time, music genres and styles have evolved and continue to move with the times, but hopefully, each country is able to retain its musical heritage so that we can gain an insight into its intriguing traditions and history.
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Discover more of our cultural tours of the world below.