Global Pop examines the rise of "world musics" and "world beat", and some of the musicians associated with these recent genres such as Peter Gabriel, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Johnny Clegg. Drawing on a wide range of sources - academic, popular, cyber, interviews, and the music itself - Global Pop charts an accessible path through many of the issues and contradictions surrounding the contemporary movement of people and musics worldwide. Global Pop examines the range of discourses employed in and around world music, demonstrating how the central concept of authenticity is wielded by musicians, fans, and other listeners, and looks at some of these musics in detail, examining ways they are caught up in forms of domination and resistance. The book also explores how some cross-cultural collaborations may fashion new musics and identities through innovative combinations of sounds and styles.
While Taylor's extensive endnotes and bibliographic citations are likely to put off the casual reader, his thorough research makes Global Pop a fine introduction for the more scholarly world-music listener. The consequences of such early mainstream successes as Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon haven't gone unnoticed in Taylor's study. Instead, the author attempts to look beyond the music-industry veneer in search of answers to questions of aesthetics and ethnography. A discussion of the liner notes to the Kronos Quartet's "Pieces of Africa" leads to investigations into authenticity and the motivation behind mainstream patronage. Taylor likewise examines the comparatively minor successes of Sheila Chandra and Apache Indian, artists whose names will unfortunately remain foreign to the majority of music buyers regardless of industry efforts to adjust their sound to fit the marketplace better. Taylor would have done well to consider the marketplace himself; his prose style is typical of texts compiled to support the weight of the author's advanced degrees. Fans of such worthy artists as Yassour N'Dour and Angelique Kidjo should stop by the record store for a little less strenuous world music experience.