The function of music and its tool – the instrument – must not be limited to the mere production of sounds. Traditional Music and instruments convey the deepest cultural, spiritual and aesthetic values of civilization, transmitting knowledge in many spheres.
The UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music of the World, one of the most outstanding achievements in UNESCO’s programme for the preservation and revitalization of Intangible Cultural Heritage, pays tribute to this task through the dissemination of such treasures of humanity as traditional popular and classical music, sacred music, music of rural and urban origin and festive or carnival music that involves singing, the playing of instruments and dancing.
The recordings, most of which were made "in situ", seek to present living musical traditions as a social act between performers and audience, and are a source of invaluable inspiration for today's creators, musicologists and traditional music lovers.
Launched by Alain Daniélou in 1961 in collaboration with the International Music Council (IMC), the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music of the World comprises both new recordings and reissues on compact disc of UNESCO’s former collections. Today UNESCO collaborates with the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) on new recordings, and with the IMC on reissues.
Since it was launched in 1988 in collaboration with NAIVE / AUVIDIS, 115 titles have been released in five series: Music and Musicians of the World, Anthology of Traditional Music, Traditional Music of Today, Celebration Collection and Listening to the World.