Archive for March, 2024

And the Roots of Rhythm Remain

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Dear Mailing List,

Remember me? You may recall that I used to send out newsletters fairly regularly. A few of
you even sent messages saying you missed them.

My excuse has been that I’ve been consumed by trying to finish the book I’ve been writing
for so many years. Well, I’ve finally done it! And the Roots of Rhythm Remain: a journey
through global music will be published on July 4 in the UK by Faber and on Sept 3 in the US
by Ze Books.

It’s a bit of a door-stop. Sherpas will be provided to purchasers to help them carry it home.
Faber is promoting it as the ‘global music’ equivalent of Alex Ross’s The Rest is
Noise, which I take as a great compliment. Mine may be slightly longer, but I’ve done my
best to make it a non-academic page-turner, full of anecdote and personalities and
backstories. Did you know, for example, that promoter Bill Graham was a champion mambo
dancer? That Charles Dickens wrote a scathing review of a Zulu choir’s performance in
London in 1853? That Frank Sinatra owed his career to a tango singer from Buenos Aires?
That Desi Arnaz’s father banned his son’s future meal-ticket, the conga drum, when he was
mayor of Santiago de Cuba? That the Soviets hated Bulgarian women’s choirs? That George
Harrison fell for Indian music while lying in ZsaZsa Gabor’s bathtub?

I’m about to embark on the process of reciting it into a microphone for the audio
book, so when the time comes, you’ll be able to either read it on the page or listen to my
dulcet tones through your headphones. Or both! I also plan to assemble playlists on
YouTube, Spotify and Apple so readers will be able to experience the music as they read or

In recent years, some of you have kindly invited me to festivals and readings and I’ve turned
you down in order to focus on finishing the book. Now that I’m done, my date-book is open
and I’m available. Just shoot me an email.

Now that I’ve climbed down from the garret, I hope to see many of your smiling faces in the
coming year as I travel the world plugging the book. Be sure to say hello!

All the best