Popular music studies have progressed from the initial focus on methodologies to exploring a variety of genres, scenes, works and performers. British and North-American music have been privileged and studied first, not only for their geographic and generational proximity to scholars, but also for their tremendous impact. Everything else has been often relegated to the dubious “world music” category, with a “folk” (or “roots”, or “authentic”) label attached.
However, world popular music is no less popular than rock ‘n’ roll, r&b, disco, rap, singer-songwriters, punk, grunge, brit-pop, or nu-gaze. It is no less full of history and passion, no less danceable, socially relevant and commercialized. Argentinian tango, J-pop, Cuban son and timba, Brazilian bossa nova, Mexican reggaeton, Spanish and Latin American cantautores, French auteurs – compositeurs – interprètes, Italian cantautori and electronic dance music, German cosmic music and Schlager, Neapolitan Song, Greek entechno, Algerian raï, Ghanaian highlife, Portuguese fado, Nigerian jùjú, Egyptian and Lebanese Arabic pop, Israeli mizrahit, Indian filmi are just a few examples of locally and transnationally successful genres that, with millions of records sold, are an immensely precious key to understand different cultures, societies and economies.
More than in the past there is now a widespread awareness of the “other” popular music: however, we still lack access to the original sources, or to texts to rely on. The Routledge Global Popular Music Series has been devised to offer to scholars, teachers, students and general readers wordwide a direct access to scenes, works and performers that have been mostly not much or at all considered in the current literature, and at the same time to provide a better understanding of the different approaches in the field of non-Anglophone scholarship. Uncovering the wealth of studies flourishing in so many countries, inaccessible to those who do not speak the local language, is by now no less urgent than considering the music itself.
This website includes the audio-visual examples which complement the volumes. The interaction with the website is intended to give a well informed introduction to the world’s popular music from entirely new perspectives, and at the same time to provide updated resources for the academic teaching.
Routledge Global Popular Music Series ultimately aims at establishing a truly international arena for a democratic musicology, through authoritative and accessible books. We hope that our work will help the creation of a different polyphony of critical approaches, and that you will enjoy listening to and being part of it.
Franco Fabbri (University of Turin, Italy)
Goffredo Plastino (Newcastle University, UK)