It's universally agreed that travel broadens the mind, and the mechanics by which it does so are myriad - whether it's sampling new cuisine, taking in unique architecture or exploring traditions and cultures, there are so many factors which make a travel experience a highly personal one. Not least amongst them is the music encountered while abroad, often an eclectic mix unlike anything encountered in the Western charts. It's also an aspect of travel which can be enjoyed from the comfort of home - although listening to an MP3 is not exactly the same as having a Scandinavian folk band playing in your living room, it's a very close approximation and infinitely more practical! If you're new to world music or are keen to continue exploring its many avenues, the following sites have been carefully selected to represent the best of the genre.
A music blog which has been exploring world music and culture for over five years, SoundRoots regularly serves up enough reviews and media to sate even the most hardcore music fan.
Get up to date with the weirdest from down under - New Weird Australia is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best Australian-based experimental music site the Internet has to offer.
The official blog of Putumayo World Music has one mission - to make you feel good (and to put it simply, it really doesn't disappoint!).
The Bluesmen's World blog is highly revered in the online world music circle, and it's not hard to see why. The site is superbly written and provides history, reviews and analysis of some of folk's finest productions.
The Babe(b)logue enjoys a strong following by music fans from around the world, and that's because the music it offers transcends all geographical borders. Lots of varied music to be discovered, with stable links pointing you in the right direction for getting hold of it.
If Celtic and world folk is your passion, you'll find it shared over at the amusingly titled Folk Yourself. Features top picks from around the world and covers a diverse range of material.
Awesome Tapes from Africa is exactly that, giving world music enthusiasts the chance to listen to authentic audio which is nigh on impossible to trace elsewhere.
Possibly the longest established of our award winners in this category, Said the Gramophone has been running since 2003 (and claims to be one of the world's first mp3 blogs, which our judges have independently verified). Long may it continue!
A team of knowledgeable and highly entertaining writers contribute to this Toronto-based mp3 blog, and regardless whether you're a resident of the city or not the mix of voices (and frequent posting schedule) mean there's always something for everyone.
World Music Central is a behemoth of a site and has enough content within its archives to last for years, both in terms of scene developments and music reviews. A perfect way to discover new favourites.