Google tells you that there are 195 countries in the World. Nick Wall’s book covers 200. If this doesn’t give you an indication of just how in-depth this book is, I don’t know what will. ‘Around the World in 575 Songs’ is a four-volume definitive guide to the music and cultural history of the world’s countries.
What began as a personal project for Wall to collect and share music from across the globe soon morphed into something far more serious. As he says, ‘the project became about much more than sharing music. I found myself writing about musicians who'd helped give a voice to groups who had been voiceless, leading them to assert their rights.’
The artists featured are often more than just musicians – they are cultural ambassadors. Wall says, ‘The artists in my book were men and women interested in learning, in growth, in promoting cultural understanding, and often in combating prejudice and challenging pre-conceived ideas.’ Whether that be by reviving older instruments or musical traditions, or just by teaching the instruments that they know already, they have contributed to the continuation of their art and heritage.
The volumes run through the continents: Volume 1 is dedicated to Europe, 2 is Africa, and so on. In them, several World Music Network’s artists are featured. Wall tells the stories of Nigerien Desert Blues band Etran Finatawa, the Senegalese singer Nuru Kane, Sotho Sounds, Kirsti Stassinopolou and Jaipur Kawa Brass Band, all of whom have released music with WMN’s various labels.
He stresses however that it is not an academic book. Rather, ‘It's a book written for anyone interested in exploring other cultures and their music. The book and the stories in it are an invaluable resource for all those seeking answers on what role traditional music can play in the modern world.’
Previously, Wall had run the popular ‘musictodiefor’ blog and has been involved in music for much of his life.
Each volume of the book is available either on Nick’s own website – https://aroundtheworldin575songs.com/
On his Amazon page – https://www.amazon.com/Nick Wall/e/B07GMPHYRL/
Or via his crowdfunding page – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/around-the-world-in-575-songs/x/5623937#/