World Music with Deirdre Saravia

Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM

World Music with Deirdre Saravia takes you on a musical journey to some of the world’s most fascinating places.   From China to Brazil and the Balkans to Indonesia, World Music will introduce you to sounds from a world far from your own.  A world traveler herself, the Belfast, Northern Ireland native introduces each piece with details about the music, the musicians and the culture that produced them.

Saravia credits the work of performers like Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon for bringing world music to the attention of American audiences, but she has also seen a change in attitude in America towards foreigners.

Today foreigners feel more comfortable in celebrating their uniqueness, and as a result, there is a burgeoning interest in world music. "Not understanding the language is no longer a problem," says Saravia. "People enjoy the music for the beat, the instrumentation."

Though each World Music show is built around a central theme, it will rarely center on one type of music. Saravia strives for variety, though there will always be a connection between the songs she plays; music from as many as 15 countries can be represented in the same show.

"You come to learn that people are basically the same throughout the world," she says. "They sing about the same things."

Scroll to the bottom of this page to see Deirdre's World Music Picks, a closer look at some of the most notable world musicians.

Betto Arcos — world-music connoisseur and host of the Cosmic Barrio podcast — is a frequent guest of weekends on All Things Considered, where he shares the music he's discovered in his travels.

The music of Diomedes Diaz blasts from a cantina in La Junta, a village of dirt streets and cactus on the edge of a desert where the late singer grew up. His songs celebrate country living, all-night partying and falling in love.

This style of music is called vallenato. Diaz was Colombia's vallenato king, and his fans still flock to La Junta. Many, like retired oil worker Hector Suarez, come to see the people and places depicted in Diaz's songs.

In Orange County, Calif., there's no shortage of restaurants selling bánh mì, that delicious Vietnamese sandwich of meat, pate, fresh and pickled vegetables on a crunchy baguette. The OC's Little Saigon is home to the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam. One shop in the town of Westminster stands out from the rest: It's got an actual pop star behind the counter, a woman known as the Vietnamese Madonna.

Lynda Trang Dai is certainly glamorous for a sandwich maven. She sports stiletto heels, a short skirt, and perfect make-up — including false eyelashes.

Here's a phrase you don't hear a lot in the US: "Pakistani pop music." In fact, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has a thriving music industry — and singer Zebunissa Bangash, or Zeb for short, is one of its stars.

There has been violence and threat to Pakistani culture since the country was founded 68 years ago, both for political and religious reasons. Zeb was never subjected to that scrutiny: She studied art history at college in the US before returning home to form a band with her cousin, Haniya. Their accessible pop songs found a devoted following.