Bloomington (Indiana), USA – American writer and musicologist Elijah Wald has a new book out titled Global Minstrels: Voices of World Music. Published by Routledge (ISBN: 0-415-97930-7), the book provides a unique insight into world music though conversations with many of the scene’s most active and articulate performers. In the process, it provides an accessible introduction to musical styles from five continents and a view into the lives and concerns of the artists who have brought these music forms to international attention.
The artists profiled include stars like Caetano Veloso, Ravi Shankar, Paco de Lucía, and King Sunny Ade, as well as lesser-known musicians who work largely within the United State’s burgeoning immigrant communities. They range from traditional village performers to multilingual hip-hoppers, from Indian and Arabic classical virtuosos to Latin and Afropop bandleaders.
What unites them is their insight into the fusions and clashes of a globalizing entertainment scene, the need to hold on to precious heritages while reaching out to an international market. While their music may be exotic to American ears, their stories hit close to home, showing how art from elsewhere can create meaning in our communities and help us explore worlds very different from our own.
The profiles are as engaging as they are illuminating. Not only fine musicians but master entertainers, the artists speak about their lives and work with the same exuberance and brilliance they bring to their stage performances. Their stories have depth and humor, and help to show us both where the world’s many music forms have come from and where they are going.
Elijah Wald was world music critic for the Boston Globe for over a dozen years, and is currently teaching in the musicology department at UCLA. His previous books include the award-winning Narcocorrido, an exploration of the Mexican pop ballads of drugs and politics, and Escaping the Delta, a new look at blues history. He won a 2002 Grammy for best liner notes, and is a performing musician known for his work in Congolese and Bahamian acoustic guitar styles.
Book cover photos
courtesy of Jack and Linda Vartoogian; Cover design by Elise Weinger. Elijah
Wald photo by Sandrine Sheon.