In 1976 if you wanted to hear music from a country other than somewhere in North America or the British Isles, you had to hope that your local record store had a Folk Music section. This wasn't to be confused with the popular notion of folk music as performed by Bob Dylan or even The Weavers. Rather it was music from different "folk" from around the world. Normally what you would find in these sections were albums whose covers always had pictures of happy smiling "natives" in traditional costume doing something that looked very traditional
I remember the section that they used to have at Sam The Record Man's central location in Toronto Canada fitting that description. The store itself was a marvel, three stories high filled to bursting with records of every genre and description and the walls covered with autographed pictures of everyone from Alice Cooper to Luciano Pavarati.
The folk music section for this store was up on the second floor, across the hall from the Jazz/Blues and Singer/ Songwriter sections (which is where you'd find the popular folk singers). I actually used to spend quite a bit of time up there, looking at the covers of the people from all over the world. You could find everything from the massed pipes of the 48th Highlanders, to traditional music of South Africa lurking in those bins.
You have to remember the only exposure that most of us had had to music beyond the borders of Europe was the sitar music that George Harrison had incorporated into various Beatles songs or his own solo projects. The really adventurous had perhaps purchased the occasional album of Ravi Shankar's after his appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival introduced him to the pop music crowd.
Aside from that there wasn't anything like what we've come to take for granted today, where musicians from a variety of cultures band together to explore sound and rhythm.
It wasn't until 1975 when Mickey Hart joined Zakir Hussain's Tal Vadya Rhythm Band, that musicians from a variety of national backgrounds joined forces to combine influences and see what they came up with for the specific purpose of creating a recording. The band was renamed, Diga Rhythm Band after Mickey joined. In 1976 they recorded their first album — five songs using a variety of percussion instruments ranging from tablas of India, dumbeks of the Middle East, talking drums of Africa, vibraphones, and a full trap set from the West.