World music, authenticity and Africa: Reading Cesaria Evora and Ali Farka Toure

  • Anandam Kavoori


In this essay, I engage with the complex set of sonic connections known as 'World Music'. The section on 'Framing World Music/The Global Postmodern/Authenticity' outlines some key elements in how World Music can be theoretically framed - as a specific kind of text, anchored in conditions of global post modernity and characterized by a defining discourse - that of 'authenticity'. This is followed by a biographical/textual account of two major global music stars from Africa - Cesaria Evora (Cape Verde) and Ali Farka Toure (Mali) - with a focus on examining how their biographical and textual imprint illustrates the different ways in which the discourse of 'authenticity' is mobilised within World Music/The Global Postmodern. Finally, the concluding section summarises some general ideas about authenticity and World Music. My overall goals are to engage with the specific textual elements that make up the sonic construct of World Music, steering clear of popular discourse about it.
Academic Papers