Customer Review

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, 8 Aug. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Rough Guide to World Music: Africa, Europe and the Middle East v. 1 (Rough Guide Music CDs) (Audio CD)
Along with The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD by Richard Cook & Brian Morton, the original edition of this has acted as my Bible over the last 5 years or so, costing me a small fortune in recordings that I didn't know I needed along the way! So, here is the new edition - expanded, updated and now in two volumes. In keeping with the original edition, the people at Rough Guide have commissioned a wide variety of writers to contribute individual chapters on their own particular area of expertise, resulting in a truly authoritative body of work. The first volume which is now in the shops covers Africa, Europe and the Middle East, with Volume II (Americas, Asia and the Pacific) following later in the year. It is a sign of how interest in World Music has grown over the last few years that each individual volume is now larger than the original book. As a result, even if you already own the original, the fact is that you are going to have to buy the new version as well, because there is so much new information. The huge growth in the availability of CD's from various parts of the globe is one of the reasons for this, but the new volume also covers areas which the original did not touch.
Inevitably there is (quite literally) a price to pay for this growth. One of the frustrations for myself, is that my main interest lies in African and Latin music. Unfortunately, while African music is contained in Volume I along with European music, which is not one of my major passions, Latin music is contained in Volume II. Similarly when looking at Klezmer music, for example, the Eastern European areas from which it is derived are in Volume I, but you will have to wait until Volume II to find out about developments on the New York scene. Still these are minor irritations in what is a major piece of work.
Despite the awesome size of these tomes, the Rough Guide to World Music succeeds on two levels: it can be used as a reference book to check out details about artists and their body of work; however, the easy style, characteristic of the whole Rough Guide series, allows it to be read as an informative and entertaining book in its own right. An extensive directory of record labels and shops, including internet addresses is included.
In addition to the vast amount of new information, the Second Edition is arranged in a more sensible and accessible order than the original. If you haven't already got it and you have any interest in this type of music, then this book has to go at the top of your "wants" list. Then there's just a small matter of a few CD's to listen to while you're reading... Stewart@cdrecords.co.uk
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