"In the late 1960s, the Explorer Series made the label a pioneer in the field of world music before the term had even been coined. The series, which Nonesuch released from 1967 to 1984, consisted of field recordings made primarily in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe. For American non-travelers, it was the first exposure to musical idioms such as music produced by a gamelan. In 1977, a few of the recordings were chosen for the Voyager Golden Record, and sent into outer space aboard the Voyager spacecraft."
Here's the Spotfiy playlist: Nonesuch: Explorer Series (488 tracks, total time: 1 day) Press Ctrl (Command on Macs) + G to browse in album view. The albums are arranged geographically. Check out the official site for detailed information, and an interview with the man behind these recordings.
P.S. I think it's always necessary to learn about the culture where the music originated, as we listen. Otherwise it won't be too much different from a pop record producer sampling some African drumbeat into a "hit" without knowing where did it come from or in what context that sound was used. It might work as a cool beat, but it's still a careless simplification of a wonderful sound and a whole world that's unknown to most of us.