Simone Krüger

Sarah Baker

Editors’ Introduction

A warm welcome to the second issue of volume two of the Journal of World Popular Music, which presents a rich and varied mix of reviews, interviews and articles that engage with the interdisciplinary study of the world’s popular musics. Since the journal’s conception back in 2012, with the inaugural issue published in summer 2014, JWPM has slowly established itself as a vibrant academic outlet for innovative, contemporary debates surrounding international popular musics, evidence of which is that JWPM has recently been selected to be indexed by the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) by Thomson Reuters, publishers of the influential indices that generate the impact factor widely used to rate journals. ESCI will extend the universe of publications in Web of Science to include high-quality, peer-reviewed publications of regional importance and in emerging scientific fields. For our authors and readers, this means that JWPM is searchable, discoverable and citable, and that you can get real-time insight into a journal’s citation performance, whilst the content is considered for inclusion in other Web of Science collections. Readers and authors of JWPM can now measure the contribution of an article in specific disciplines and identify potential collaborators for expanded research. JWPM is also indexed by RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, and has recently featured in the MLA (Music Library Association) Notes journal, whilst our international subscription and readership base is steadily growing.

As in issue 1.2 of JWPM, the first section of this issue is united by the broad theme of World Music. The section opens with Britta Sweers’s article on Marcel Cellier, who played a key role in “early” (pre-1987) world music due to his influential recordings of the Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares choirs and of the Romanian pan-flutist Gheorghe Zamfir. Indeed, Cellier’s instrumental role in early world music has been largely neglected, and so Sweers brings to the fore important biographical information, contributes source materials about the history of early world music, and presents insights into the mediation process between Western and Eastern Europe, academe and early world music audiences. The article is followed by a review by Deborah Justice of, a website that aims to create “a standing database of world music resources” and to provide “up-to-date world music event listings”. Though Justice points to some inconsistencies on the site that make navigating it “somewhat frustrating”, she ultimately contends it “holds great potential and, at the very least, performs a good service by promoting artists and genres outside of the usual airwaves”. The section ends with Simone Krüger’s interview with internationally acclaimed world music record producer and World Circuit label owner Nick Gold, which explores numerous pertinent issues surrounding the birth and successes of the British world music genre. With personal stories from his own career in world music, Nick presents a first-hand account of running a world music label, attending the infamous 1987 pub meeting, the ingredients for successful world music, Buena Vista Social Club and more, with a look towards the future of the world music industry.

The second section brings together three reviews under the theme Latin American Popular Music. The first is a review by Alfredo Colman of Lucy Durán’s radio programmes on the music of Paraguay, which aired in March 2013 on BBC Radio 3 as part of the World Routes Baroque series. The focus of the review is on the first three episodes, which, Colman asserts, provide “an exciting introduction to the general history, culture and musical life” of Paraguay. This is followed by two book reviews. The first, by Felipe Arocena, continues the focus on Paraguay, with an examination of Alfredo Colman’s The Paraguayan Harp: From Colonial Transplant to National Emblem, a book which details “the sinuous routes of how the Jesuit harp was resignified as an exotic indigenous instrument and appropriated by the national narrative that invented Paraguayan identity”. The final review in this section takes us from Paraguay to Brazil with Jo Haynes’s review of Marc Hertzmann’s Making Samba: A New History of Race and Music in Brazil. As with Colman’s book, the connection between music and the expression of national identity is also an issue that runs through Making Samba. With its focus on “samba’s evolution as music genre and national cultural institution”, Hayne declares Hertzmann’s book to be “a testament to how complicated the nexus of social, economic, political and technological processes that underpin the racialization of a musical genre and culture can be”.

The thematic approach taken by JWPM in the presentation of content is not confined to themes attached to countries or geographic regions. In issue 1.2, for instance, we brought together a series of reviews under the broad theme of Genre. In this issue, we narrow this focus to a consideration of Global Hip Hop. The third section thus begins with a look at the cultural politics of hip hop in France with Olivier Bourderionnet’s article, which addresses questions of political consciousness and authenticity in today’s French rap industry, whilst drawing on a three-part fiction film, De l’encre, made for French television by rappers Hamé and Ekoué from the group La Rumeur. Bourderionnet illustrates the tensions between rappers’ political engagement and political discourse versus marketing demands and industry practices, and thereby exposes the “conservative rhetoric of exclusion found at the other end of the political spectrum in France”. The article’s focus on French hip hop is complemented by a review from Marc Kaiser of French Moves: The Cultural Politics of le Hip Hop, a book that reveals the politics and poetics of French urban dance. For Kaiser, the book contributes to “debates on postcoloniality, universalism and representation which have become central in contemporary France”. Tony Mitchell then takes us to Iceland with an article focused on the history of Icelandic rap and hip hop from the mid-1990s to the present day, notably the feminization of Icelandic hip hop in 2014 with the emergence of Reykjavíkurdætur (Reykjavík Daughters). Here, Mitchell argues that “the emergence of the phenomenal women’s collective Reykjavíkurdætur on the Icelandic rap scene in 2014 has clearly injected new life into Icelandic hip hop through a sudden influx of women rappers with style, panache, political clout and intelligence, which has also given added impetus to both the old guard and the subsequent new generation of rappers”.

The final two sections return to geographic themes. The first, Popular Music in the Caribbean, opens with a review by Paul Long of the documentary Marley. Long argues that “documentaries such as Marley are interesting and sometimes contentious additions to our knowledge about such figures, their representation and how we think of popular music history”. Bob Marley’s status as a “Third World global superstar” whose “musical history is one impacted by and in turn informing Rastafarianism, decolonization across the Caribbean and Africa, and the violent politics of post-independence Jamaica” cements his position as an artist of interest for a journal seeking to explore the manifestations and impacts of post-globalizing trends, processes and dynamics surrounding world music. Peter Manuel then provides a review of Curwen Best’s The Popular Music and Entertainment Culture of Barbados: Pathways to Digital Culture. Barbados, though not having “enjoyed the same musical pre-eminence” as Marley’s Jamaica, is an island that nevertheless “accord[s] music a prominent place in local culture” and Best’s book highlights “the predicaments of small countries attempting to find their place in the global soundscape”. Samuel Dwinell rounds out this section with a substantial double review of the edited collections Archipelagos of Sound: Transnational Caribbeanities, Women and Music and Sun, Sea, and Sound: Music and Tourism in the Circum-Caribbean, both of which provide “exemplary and contrasting responses” to the question: “what concepts, terms and research tools … best serve to illuminate and clarify transnational processes of mobility, identification and cultural exchange in which music plays an important part?” In his review essay, Dwinell outlines how, despite the volumes having very distinct themes—female performers and tourism, respectively—they both traverse the same broad territory, addressing issues of Caribbean music and globalization.

This issue ends with a section on Popular Music in Asia, complementing the section on Asian Popular Music which was first introduced in issue 1.2. In a review of the book Dangdut Stories: A Social and Musical History of Indonesia’s Most Popular Music, Heather Strohschein outlines how its author, Andrew Weintraub, by way of an “extensive and impressive” ethnography, effectively “tells the multiple tales of dangdut, as related by some of the most important figures and organizations involved” in the genre’s production. Dangdut Stories is, says Strohschein, “the definitive work on this genre”. This is followed by an article by Lonán Ó Briain, in which he illustrates—through his insights from online research, YouTube Analytics and fieldwork among the Hmong in Vietnam and the US—how YouTube is embraced by the Hmong ethnic group as a primary source for Hmong music recordings, whilst illustrating American Hmong’s attempts to turn the thriving Hmong digital diaspora into a sustainable offline musical community. Finally, Henry Johnson offers a review of Made in Japan: Studies in Popular Music. Edited by Tōru Mitsui, this volume from the Routledge Global Popular Music Series offers “readers a taste of some of the distinct features of Japanese popular music” and, as Johnson asserts, includes “well-researched chapters that provide fascinating historical, social and cultural knowledge on the stars” that produce contemporary Japanese pop music.

We hope you enjoy this richly packed, geographically and thematically diverse journal issue, and that you recommend the Journal of World Popular Music to your librarians, students, colleagues, teachers, friends and others with an interest in world popular music or international popular musics. Your subscription will also have a good cause, as all royalties earned by the Journal Editor, as well as a matching sum contributed by the Publisher, will be donated to the Angels Charity, a UK registered International Children’s Charity that advocates the rights of the world’s poorest and disadvantaged children and their communities through music and education. For further information, see