This instructional guide analyzes and contrasts the playing styles of several african countries, and how they relate to (or were influenced by) western music styles.
Starting from the basic palm-wine picking techniques from Sierra-Leone and Liberia, the author takes us through a journey that ends up in Madagascar. On the way, we discover the famous desert blues style from the Sahel countries, highlife and juju styles from Nigeria, the Manding griots styles, the Congolese soukous, several styles from Zimbabwe, and the South-African mbaqanga that was first made popular by Paul Simon and his album Graceland
Unfortunately, such a long journey summarized in such a concise book (47 pages) means that the author really only skimmes through the surface of each topic.
This is the biggest drawback of this book.
Familiarity with basic playing techniques is assumed, as well as knowledge of music theory (although not necessarily at expert level). The CD included with the book is welcome to convey the most subtle points about phrasing.
This very good book is a must-read for anyone interested in World Music, and seeking to expand her or his musical horizons.