'World Music' is an awkward phrase. Used to describe the hugely multifaceted nature of a range of, typically, non-English language popular musics from the world over, it’s a tag that throws up as many problems as it does solutions.
Louise Gray’s 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?
It looks at genres, such as fado and rembetika, that emerged from marginalized communities; and engages with trance music, hiphop, national anthems and new folk. It also probes the dark side – the role that music plays in conflict from Rwanda to the Middle East. But ultimately, this unique guide, which combines the seduction of sound with politics and social issues, makes the case for music as a powerful tool to bring people together.