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What Music Is Hot Around The World?

The world has listened, and it agrees: Lady Gaga is in.

The American pop star's "Poker Face" has penetrated nearly every international market, as has The Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow." You'll find those songs at or near the top of nearly every radio or sales chart around the world.

But many local artists still hold tremendous sway in their countries or regions, often flourishing without the promotional reach of major record labels.

For this month's Talk of the World feature, Talk of the Nation asks international listeners: What's the hot music where you live? Who are the top artists? And who in your country are the tastemakers — the DJs, critics, artists and others who can make or break an act? Join the conversation in the comments section. And hear some of the local artists making waves around the world below.


Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick, founder of the band Incognito

Adrian Washika, radio DJ in Nairobi, Kenya

Banning Eyre, NPR reviewer and senior editor at Afropop.org

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Hits Around The World

Jua Cali

According to DJ Adrian Washika, Jua Cali is currently Kenya's most popular artist — in fact, he's currently touring the U.S. Jua Cali makes Genge music, a local form of hip-hop wherein MCs rhyme over dancehall-inspired beats in Swahili and Sheng (an English-Swahili slang dialect). "Ngeli Ya Genge" is the title track to his new album.

Tattoo Colour

Young Thai pop-rock act Tattoo Colour originally hails from the northeastern province of Khon Khaen, but has found massive success in Bangkok. For several years, the quartet has been dominating radio charts throughout the country, and entertaining fans with live shows filled with comic relief. "Cinderella" is its latest chart-topper, according to Bangkok's Hot 91.5 FM.

Johan Palm

Barely 17, Johan Palm rose to fame in Sweden on the country's American Idol-inspired TV competition. Though the teen with the androgynous haircut and tight jeans didn't win, the GLF — the Swedish Recording Industry Association — places his debut single "Emma-Lee" at the top of its current charts.

A.R. Rahman

Though its box-office performance was tempered by mediocre reviews, the Bollywood blockbuster Delhi-6 produced a hit in "Genda Phool," a musical number from the film. Behind the music was Bollywood legend A.R. Rahman, who is still enjoying worldwide pop success for his work on Slumdog Millionaire. In fact, "O Saaya" from Slumdog is the No. 2 song on the national network Radio Mirchi — right behind "Genda Phool."

Bruno e Marrone

Bruno & Marrone form a sertanejo duo — a form of country music from the interior regions of Brazil. Like much modern commercial country in the U.S., their music is heavily produced and takes cues from rock instrumentation. According to the Popline/CabreuVoip charts, their take on the song "Nao Tente Me Impedir" was the most-played song on FM radio in Brazil last week.