News & Features — 14 June 2013 at 5:51 pm

Touring the world through sights and sounds

Rowena Clark / Adventure Medic Book Reviewer

Touring the World Through Sites and Sounds: Music+Travel-Worldwide

For those of us who agree with the authors’ sentiment that ‘music makes the world go round – or at the least, makes it sound a lot sweeter’, this book is a truly eccentric travelogue with its very own soundtrack, whisking you through twelve countries across the globe in an enthusiastic attempt to educate you on the music they are synonymous with.

The genre may be somewhat niche, as hinted at by its slogan ‘a curated guide to your obsessions’, but it certainly takes a refreshing break from the likes of backpacker-laden Lonely Planets. I suspect the surprising selection of types & tunes will appeal to music aficionados and novices alike, and I love their no-holds-barred approach to the genres selected: there can’t be many books around that reminisce over the former cognac factory in which you can hear the best Russian Jailhouse Rock, side-by-side with where to swing to Jazz in Addis Ababa or mosh to old-school Techno in Berlin’s finest underground dives.

The chapters are chattily narrated by different enthusiasts for each musical genre/city the book visits, and each include my favourite quirk: a page dedicated to descriptions of artists past & present, their albums, and some pointers to films, photos, books, publications or websites that are intrinsically linked to the musical vibe of the city. Who knew that new-age Argentinian Cumbia is being lorded about by bands such as the Kumbia Queers, mixing up latin rhythms with Black Sabbath guitar riffs?

The Museyon Guides don’t exactly score highly on practicality. Unless you plan to generate a seriously convoluted round-the-world-trip, it seems unlikely you’ll visit even half of the places described. Maps and specifics are limited at best, and this isn’t the book for you if you’d like to know staples such as where to stay or eat. In fact, calling it a ‘travel guide’ is in most respects a raging misnomer. But at their own admission, that’s not really their aim.

If, however, you’re looking for an intriguing read that will genuinely set your musical cogs spinning (and at the very least will inspire a wonderfully random travel mix-tape), Music + Travel Worldwide does what it says on the tin, and takes you on a really lovely lyrical trip through ‘the origins, the influences, and everything in between’.

Music + Travel Worldwide: Touring the Globe Through Sounds and Scenes.

Museyon Guides (ISBN 978-0-9822320-3-3). £14.99