March 14, 2008

Books: The Music In My Head by Mark Hudson

The Music In My Head is at one both an original novel, but yet at the same time one revisiting familiar themes. It's original in that it may be the only novel to date about the world music phenomenon of the late eighties. The white man out of his depth in darkest Africa is a theme, however, that has been the topic of several novels in the past.

The story is a first person narrative from the point of view of Andrew "Litch" Litchfield, A&R man and music producer, who is a leading authority on African music. Scratch that, he is the self-proclaimed creator of the world music boom, there is no greater authority on this music than the man himself. The boom has now passed though and maybe things aren't going as well as before for Litch. The start of the novel sees him jetting in to N'Galam, capital of Tekrur to meet the king of African music, Sajar Jopp. Veteran of many trips to the African continent, Litch heads off full of bravado and also disdain for other white visitors who seem out of their depth. He soon finds, however, that on this trip things aren't going quite as smoothly as he had hoped and self-doubt and paranoia start to creep in as he visits the heart of his own darkness. I found myself both detesting and sympathising with Litch at various points throughout the book as he stumbles from one crisis to another.

Hudson is at his best when describing the music and the mood of Africa, and, for anyone who is crazy about music, this makes an enjoyable read. And if you followed the world music fad, then you will have fun identifying the real life musicians that served as a (very loose) inspiration for some of the characters.

No comments:

Post a Comment