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Elijah Wald - Global Minstrels: The Voices of World Music (Routledge) GLOBAL MINSTRELS: Voices of World Music
By Elijah Wald

World music is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. music market, the soundtrack to an era of unprecedented immigration and global communications. GLOBAL MINSTRELS: Voices of World Music (Routledge; November 30, 2006; $26.95) provides a unique insight into this musical universe 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 Lucia, and King Sunny Ade, as well as lesser-known musicians who work largely within America’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.  His website is  

GLOBAL MINSTRELS: Voices of World Music
By Elijah Wald
Routledge; November 30, 2006
Paperback / 306 pages / $26.95 ISBN: 0-415-97930-7

Quotes about Global Minstrels:

"Elijah Wald is a strong, knowledgeable writer with a real gift for synthesis and a diversity of experience that makes him capable of looking at the big picture."-- Ned Sublette, author of Cuba and its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo  

"A fascinating exploration. I have often wondered about this term 'world music' and this book helped me get closer to an answer while bringing so many artists from around the world to me—who they are, where they come from and what their lives are like, politically, culturally and artistically."-- Kayhan Kalhor, founder of Ghazal and the Masters of Persian Music

“For those fascinated but bewildered by the sheer diversity of recordings stacked in world music bins, Global Minstrels offers a lively, accessible and well-informed road map. For readers already familiar with this extraordinary musical landscape, Wald's insightful commentary will enrich their appreciation significantly.” -- Deborah Pacini Hernandez, author of Bachata: A Social History of Dominican Popular Music