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"We have in this book a Rosetta stone for mediating, or translating, African musical behavior and aesthetics."—Andrew Tracey, African Music
"John Miller Chernoff, who spent 10 years studying African drumming, has a flair for descriptive writing, and his first-person narratives should be easily understood by any reader, while ringing unmistakably true for the reader who has also been to West Africa."—Roderick Knight, Washington Post Book World
"Ethnomusicologists must be proud that their discipline has produced a book that will, beyond doubt, rank as a classic of African studies."—Peter Fryer, Research in Literatures
"A marvelous book. . . . Not many scholars will ever be able to achieve the kind of synthesis of 'doing' and 'writing about' their subject matter that Chernoff has achieved, but he has given us an excellent illustration of what is possible."—Chet Creider, Culture
"Chernoff develops a brilliant and penetrating musicological essay that is, at the same time, an intensely personal and even touching account of musical and cultural discovery that anyone with an interest in Africa can and should read. . . . No other writing comes close to approaching Chernoff's ability to convey a feeling of how African music 'works'"—James Koetting, Africana Journal
"Four stars. One of the few books I know of that talks of the political, social, and spiritual meanings of music. I was moved. It was so nice I read it twice."—David Byrne of "Talking Heads"
The companion cassette tape has 44 examples of the music discussed in the book. It consists of field recordings illustrating cross-rhythms, multiple meters, call and response forms, etc.