What is the meaning of “World Music?” Well, it was invented by record companies to describe everything that’s, well, not easily pigeonholed into our standard definitions rock, pop and jazz. Or, in others words: I can’t define it but I know it when I hear it. Here are three cuts we know are World Music, from three different parts of the world.

Osso Quartet

Few are more worldly than the young quartet of string players who call themselves Osso. They call both New York and Berlin their homes when not traveling around the world playing behind countless rock and rollers in need of strings. Along with providing arrangements for Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois and My Brightest Diamond‘s Bring Me The Workhorse, they’ve played with Antony and the Johnsons, Alice Coltrane and Jay-Z, to name a few. Worldly? We should say so.

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Claudia Barton of Gamine

Gamine is the perfect name for the duo of vocalist Claudia Barton and producer/composer Ian Williams, whose delicate music perfectly evokes a fuzzy French film noir scene of a playfully mischievous girl, left to wander about the foggy streets of Paris.

℗ Gamine

Ana Quintans of Quinto Imperio

Quinto Imperio are the Lisbon trio of Ricardo S., Joao Gata and Ana Quintans. Founded by the gentlemen nearly 20 years ago, the trio blends Quintans soaring vocal melodies with lush strings and opulent harmonies, all created by keyboards that were build and modified by the artists themselves.

℗ Quinto Imperio