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July 31 , 2009

The No-Nonsense Guide to World Music


"World music" is an awkward phrase. Used to describe the hugely multifaceted nature of a range of typically non-English-language popular music from the world over, it's a tag that throws up as many problems as it does solutions.

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Louise Gray's The No-Nonsense Guide to World Music attempts to go behind the phrase to explore the reasons for the contemporary interest in world music, who listens to it, and why. Through chapters that focus on specific areas of music, such as rembetika, fado, trance music, and new folk, Gray explores the genres that have emerged from marginalized communities, music in conflict zones, and music as escapism.

In this unique guide, which combines the seduction of sound with politics and social issues, the author makes the case for music as a powerful tool able to bring individuals together.

Louise Gray is a writer and editor whose work on music and performing arts has appeared in the New Internationalist, The Wire, The Independent on Sunday, the Guardian, and Art Review. She co-edited Sound and the City (British Council, 2007), a book exploring the changing soundworld of China.

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