Category Archives: New Books

Monument Eternal Celebrates the Life of Alice Coltrane

The world knows legendary jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane well, while his talented wife, Alice Coltrane, remains somewhat of an enigma. Now, just three years after her death in 2007, Monument Eternal, The Music of Alice Coltrane, by Franya Berkman, gives this fascinating, complex woman—a musician and composer in her own right—the in-depth treatment she deserves.

Alice Coltrane recorded over twenty-five jazz albums for Impulse and Warner Brothers labels in the late 1960s and 1970s, working with many of the jazz headliners of the time. She played piano in John Coltrane’s last rhythm section (controversially replacing McCoy Tyner) before her husband’s death in 1967. But her legacy goes beyond jazz.

Her music began to synthesize the spirituals of her youth in Detroit and the Eastern music of Hindu hymns. Her personal spiritual journey led her to found an ashram in southern California in the late 1970s. Coltrane’s childhood experiences playing for the African American congregations in Detroit influenced her later transition into the role of guru Swamini Turiya-sangitananda.
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New Book Celebrates Legendary Guitarist Doc Watson

Blooming Twig Books has just released “Blind But Now I See,” a no-holds barred biography of the legendary guitarist’s life and career. Written by Dr. Kent Gustavson, this first-ever biography of the folk and bluegrass icon. The book was researched over six years, and provides the first ever comprehensive look into the folk music icon’s life. “Blind But Now I See” also features dozens of never-before-seen photographs, as well as artist renderings from throughout Doc Watson’s childhood and career.

The book reveals never before released details about Doc Watson’s life including:

• The inside story of Doc Watson’s discovery and rise to greatness, researched from the private notes of his late discoverer Ralph Rinzler, detailing Doc’s rise from sideman to superstar and from local stages to Carnegie Hall.

• A full history of Doc’s family, his time at the Raleigh School for the Blind, his family’s deep roots in North Carolina, and his treasured first string instrument, a banjo crafted by his father from the hide of his granny’s old cat.

• The true story of Doc’s son, slide guitarist Merle Watson’s rise to the top, his tragic tractor accident, and his friends who gathered around his grave at the funeral to sing “Midnight Rider.”

Blind But Now I See” includes never before released details about Doc Watson’s life and music career and is already one of the most talked about books of the year. Chock-full of new and compelling interviews, the story is told through the experiences of more than 70 notable musicians and experts on Doc Watson’s life, including: Abigail Washburn, Alan O’Bryant, Alice Gerrard, Annie Bird, B. Townes, Bela Fleck, Ben Harper, Beppe Gambetta, Clint Howard, Darol Anger, David Grisman, David Moultrup, Don Rigsby, Donna Hill, Ed Pearl, Edgar Meyer, Ellen Harper-Verdries, George McCeney, Greg Brown, Guy Clark, Guy Davis, Jack Lawrence, James Reams, Jean Ritchie, Jerry Douglas, Joe Crookston, John Cohen, John Pushkin, Jonathan Byrd, Ketch Secor, Larry Long, Maria Muldaur, Mark Moss, Marty Stuart, Michelle Shocked, Mike Marshall, Mike Seeger, Norman Blake, Paddy Moloney, Pat Donohue, Paul Asbell, Paul Chasman, Peggy Seeger, Peter Rowan, Peter Siegel, Rebecca Lovell, Ricky Skaggs, Roland White, Sam Bush, Sarah Bryan, Si Kahn, Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, Tom Chapin, Tom Moore, Tom Paxton, Tommy Emmanuel, Tommy Sands, Tony Cartledge, Tony Rice, Tony Trischka, Warren Haynes and Wayne Henderson.

Doc Watson is not only a great-great-grandfather himself; he is the patriarch of a long line of flatpicking guitarists like Clarence White and Tony Rice, and the father of the acoustic genre, intimately influencing everyone from Bob Dylan to the Grateful Dead, and from Gillian Welch to Pete Seeger. Doc Watson is a bridge between old and new music, electric and acoustic, New York and Nashville. He is a living, breathing, Americana museum, and he’s still out on the road touring today at age 87.”

Dr. Kent Gustavson earned his Ph.D. from Stony Brook University in New York, where he now teaches music, leadership, and language. He speaks around the world on both music and publishing, and has interviewed hundreds of award-winning musicians and authors for his radio show “Sound Authors.” Dr. Gustavson has released more than a dozen audio recordings on his small independent record label Ninety and Nine Records. He lives and works in Sound Beach, New York.

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New Book ‘Bob Marley And The Golden Age of Reggae’ to Be Published in October 2010

Bob Marley and the Golden Age of Reggae
Bob Marley And The Golden Age of Reggae (Titan Books, ISBN: 97818) will be available in October 20120. Bob Marley And The Golden Age of Reggae is a testament in rare and largely unpublished pictures to some of the greatest years of Bob Marley’s career, and the history of reggae and dub music.

Through portraits, performance and personal shots, photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker charts the rise of reggae with an unparalleled insight into the genre’s most iconic artists. Captured in Jamaica in the mid 1970s, never before collected and most never before published, this collection of powerful and pivotal pictures features Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Heptones, Inner Circle and Jacob Miller, Jimmy Cliff, Jr Murvin, Toots and The Maytals, George Harrison, Burning Spear and Third World.

Featuring a foreword from Hollywood filmmaker and former Rolling Stone journalist Cameron Crowe, this deluxe hardback collection also includes commentary from Island Records’ Jeff Walker, and founding editor of The Beat magazine, Roger Steffens.

Kim Gottlieb-Walker’s varied career has encompassed music, politics, major motion pictures and television shows. Working for Island Records in the mid-seventies, she covered reggae performers all over Jamaica, and her High TimesHalloween, The Fog, Christine and Escape From New York and worked at Paramount Pictures as the production photographer for Cheers and Family Ties. For over two decades, she has served as an elected representative on the National Executive Board of IATSE O(International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada) Local 600, the International Cinematographers’ Guild.

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New Book ‘Great Musicians from our First Nations’ Celebrates North American Native Musicians

Great Musicians from our First Nations by Vincent Schilling,
Great Musicians from our First Nations by Vincent Schilling,
Great Musicians from our First Nations, written by Vincent Schilling, is the latest book in the First Nations Series for Young Readers from Second Story Press. It explores the lives of ten talented Native musicians of all ages from around Canada and the US. This collection of biographies illustrates to young readers, aged 9-13, what dreams can be reached with dedication and courage.

Read the inspiring story of Mary Youngblood, the first woman to professionally record the Native American flute. Adopted into a white community as a young child, Mary experienced feelings of isolation and exclusion. She found music to be healing during those rough times and pursued the flute as a creative outlet. Today, she is a two-time Grammy Award winner.

Other artists included in Great Musicians from our First Nations are Michael Bucher, who at age 52 uses his music for both entertainment and political activism by bringing awareness of Native American sacred sites and burial grounds and earning him “Best Political Song” at the 2008 First Annual Native-E Music Awards. And Leela Gilday, who chose to give Native women a voice through her songs of hope and empowerment —a voice that was missing in the community in which she grew up.

Other inspirational artists featured in this book include Albertan Shane Yellowbird, who overcame a stuttering problem to achieve chart-topping hits with his country music on Canadian radio. And Crystal Shawanda, who was exposed to the sights and sounds of Nashville, Tennessee from an early age and later returned to pursue her dream of being a famous country music singer.

All the musicians in this collection from Second Story Press have endured prejudice and the loneliness of isolation, but all of them have pursued their music. Today, they share their stories to bring a voice to Native communities and inspire young people to follow their dreams.

Author Vincent Schilling has written other books in the First Nations Series: Native Musicians in the Groove, Native Men of Courage, and Native Athletes in Action. He is an enrolled member of the St. Regis Mohawk tribe and lives in Virginia Beach, USA.


New Book Reveals How Cajun and Zydeco Music Thrives Outside of Louisiana

Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California: Modern Pleasures in a Postmodern  World
Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California: Modern Pleasures in a Postmodern World
Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California: Modern Pleasures in a Postmodern World (University Press of Mississippi) traces how the San Francisco Bay Area region of California has been able to develop and sustain more than a dozen Cajun bands and several dances a week.

Queen Ida; Danny Poullard; documentary filmmaker Les Blank; and Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records. These are names that are familiar to many fans of Cajun music and zydeco, and they have one other thing in common: all longtime residence in the San Francisco Bay Area. They are all part of a vibrant scene of dancing and live Louisiana French music that has been going on for decades.

Ethnographic description of this active regional scene opens into a discussion of several historical trends that have affected life and music in Louisiana and the nation. The book portrays the diversity of people who have come together to adopt Cajun and Creole dance music as a way to cope with a globalized, media-saturated world.

Celebrating life on the dance floor to the accompaniment of an accordion, fiddle, and a rubboard is one way to cope with a world that has come to be shared by Creoles, Cajuns, folk revivalists, and others who have been drawn in by the vibrant dance music.
Ethnomusicologist Mark F. DeWitt innovatively weaves together interviews with musicians and dancers (some from Louisiana, some not), analysis of popular media, participant observation as a musician and dancer, and historical perspectives from wartime black migration patterns, the civil rights movement, American folk and blues revivals, California counterculture, and the rise of cultural tourism in "Cajun Country."

Mark F. DeWitt is an independent scholar living in Oakland, California. He has published articles in the world of music and Popular Music and Society. 

Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California
Modern Pleasures in a Postmodern World
By Mark F. DeWitt
University Press of Mississippi
ISBN 978-1-60473-090-6 

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New Book Global Soundtracks: Worlds of Film Music Analyzes International Film Music

 Global Soundtracks: Worlds of Film Music
Global Soundtracks: Worlds of Film Music
In this first of its kind ethnomusicological study of world film music, editor Mark Slobin brings together a truly global analysis of the subject. Where most film music studies concentrate on the great composers and film scores of Hollywood, Global Soundtracks: Worlds of Film Music fills a huge gap by also considering music in films from subcultural America, China, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Indonesia, and both north and south India. Historical surveys of film music practices as well as examples of specific films and the work of individual directors are included.

These essays by top scholars examine how and why music works in films around the world. It is argued that music works not just for narrative enhancement and hinting at the motivations of characters, but also as a sort of "invisible narrator" that passes cultural information about the society in which the film is set.

In addition to the breadth of cultures looked at in Global Soundracks, the book also spans nearly a century of film-from the earliest work of the silent era to today’s global film and media industries. The book contains examples of a variety of ways to approach the study of film music: individual film analysis, directorial or star specificity, genre studies, production methods, cultural siting of scores, and matters of U.S./non-U.S. interaction.

Mark Slobin is a professor of music at Wesleyan University. He is the author of Fiddler on the Move: Exploring the Klezmer World (2000) and Subcultural Sounds: Micromusics of the West (1993, 2000).

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New Flamenco Sheet Music Books by Mario Escudero and Juan Lorenzo

Mario Escudero - The Glory of Flamenco Guitar
Mario Escudero – The Glory of Flamenco Guitar
Ventilador Music has published two new books (with CD) with sheet music by the legendary Flamenco guitarist Mario Escudero and contemporary guitarist Juan Lorenzo.

Mario Escudero – Gloria de la Guitarra Flamenca, written by Claude Worms includes some of Escudero’s most important works, including the buleria ‘Ímpetu.’ Escudero performed with some of the leading artists of his time, including Vicente Escudero, Ramón Montoya, Tomás Pavón, Niña de los Peines, and Mairena. The book’s notes are in English, Spanish and French.

Guitarist Juan Lorenzo provides 200 exercises for flamenco guitar on 200 Ejercicios para Guitarra Flamenca. The book comes with a CD that allows the student to listen to the exercises at lower speed. Bilingual edition in English and Spanish.


New Book Flamencos de Gañanía Looks at Historical "Real" Flamenco Venues

American writer Estela Zatania has a new book in Spanish titled Flamencos de Gañanía (Ediciones Giralda, 2007), which focuses on the historical cortijos (Andalusian haciendas) of the lower Guadalquivir region. The book is an insider’s look at a formerly undocumented era of recent flamenco history which the author presents as an important stopover on the way to today’s globalized theatrical flamenco.

Estela Zatania, native New Yorker who moved to Spain in 1970, has spent a lifetime not only writing about flamenco, but performing it as well. Tourists who yearn to see “the real thing” instead of what is offered in dives that dot the Spanish coastline, will enjoy this privileged look into the most authentic of all flamenco settings from a time and ambience when the art was practiced, not for the marketplace, but as family tradition, during Spain’s postwar period.

The book contains 16 first-hand accounts by key individuals, survivors of an era that ended only 40 years ago, but which has never before been written about. There is also historical data, a study of the oral transmission of flamenco, verses and an extensive listing of the most relevant farm-haciendas where this activity took place, among other supplementary information. 

Hardcover. 200 pages with 35 pages of black and white images. In Spanish.

Available from De Flamenco.


Encyclopedia of Albanian folk Iso-Polyphony

The Encyclopaedia of Albanian Folk Iso-Polyphony, with text in Albanian and English is now available.

Iso-Polyphony is an exceptionally beautiful and uniquely Albanian folk musical form that is a UNESCO-approved as “A Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”.

The encyclopedia, which is prepared by ethnomusicologist Prof. Dr. Vasil S. Tole, an expert on iso-polyphonic music, is now published in English and Albanian + CD included best iso-polyphonic music of Albania, will be the first comprehensive reference source of Iso-Polyphonic music.

The Encyclopedia will be a valuable resource for foreign musicians, ethnomusicologists, and other scholars interested in Albania’s musical heritage. 

The project is made possible through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation Program, created by the U.S. Congress in 2001. Albania is one of the eligible countries and this year it joins 76 other recipient countries and 87 projects that total over $3 million worldwide. The U.S. gave $24,000 to produce “Encyclopedia of Albania’s Iso-polyphony”
(ISBN: 978-99943-39-77-8).

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New Book Talks About Moroccan Gnawa Trance and Music in the Global Market Place

Middletown (Connecticut), USA – In the new book Traveling Spirit Masters, Deborah Kapchan explores how a group of Moroccan ritual musicians from the sub-Saharan Africa diaspora have come to participate in the world music market. These musicians are known as the Gnawa, and their traditional belief is that they can heal those afflicted with possession and other ills. It is thought that the Gnawa placate offending spirits with music, incense, colors, and animal sacrifice.
 The regular rhythms of the Gnawa’s heavy metal castanets and the bass melodies provided by the hajhuj (a three-stringed instrument, which is also called sintir and guimbri) induce a trance in the listener. These trance-inducing rhythms have found their way into music outside of the Moroccan Gnawa community, such as American jazz, popular French music and world beat.Kapchan examines the transformative effects of this cross-cultural participation on racial and musical identities and looks at the changing meanings of trance in different cultural settings. Originating as a form of religious or spiritual healing, trance has become, in some venues, a type of theater or performance, and in others, a vehicle for cultural and political expression.

Kapchan’s work is full of first hand observations from her travels in north Africa and France, including conversations with Gnawa musicians and those influenced by their music. Traveling Spirit Masters is a captivating and illuminating demonstration of how and why trance<and indeed all sacred musicis becoming a transnational sensation.

Deborah Kapchan is an associate professor of performance studies at New York University. She is the author of Gender on the Market: Moroccan Women and the Revoicing of Tradition (1996).


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