Songcatchers: in search of the world's music

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National Geographic, Jun 1, 2003 - History - 172 pages
1 Review
Music is elemental, universal, instinctive -- a mysterious pulse at the very heart of the human experience. But although we have made music for countless millennia, it's been scarcely a century since we acquired the technology to capture and explore all its astonishing variety. This is the tale that unfolds in Songcatchers, at once a panorama of the world's music and a vivid portrait of the pioneers who traveled far and wide to collect it. Mickey Hart, the Grateful Dead's percussionist, is also a dedicated musicologist who has recorded traditional music all over the globe. His personal quest is part of this fascinating book, but here, too, are trailblazers like Jesse Fewkes, who made the first field recordings on wax cylinders in 1890; John and Alan Lomax, whose work with folk and blues artists helped define modern music; and many more -- men and women whose curiosity led them from Africa, Asia, and far-flung Pacific islands to the Arctic Circle, often at great personal risk and usually burdened with balky, cumbersome equipment. Their legacy -- of high adventure and dedicated scholarship -- is as priceless as it is colorful. Filled with historical photographs and highlighted by a time line that traces the hundred-year evolution of recording technology, Songcatchers is an informative, always engrossing odyssey of the world's musical heritage and our ongoing effort to understand, appreciate, and preserve it. Book jacket.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - crmass - LibraryThing

This book gives a concise history of music and recorded sound, focusing on field recording, and is interwoven with Mickey's experiences and passion for live music. While I enjoyed the content, I found ... Read full review

Songcatchers: in search of the world's music

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In this slim though handsomely illustrated volume, musicologist Hart--best known as the percussionist for the Grateful Dead--leads readers on a personal journey through world music. A promoter of ... Read full review


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About the author (2003)

Mickey Hart is a percussionist and drummer who played with the Grateful Dead for 30 years. He lives in Sonoma County, CA.

Kostyal has spent 10 years traveling around the world to cover matters of cultural interest for National Geographic.