|About the Book|
Not an esoteric text that is accessible only to the enlightened, this paean to the spiritual significance of music is written in such a way that you might easily think that you are reading a series of articles from Rolling Stone Magazine. This collection of interviews with both music-makers and writers from around the world is aimed at finding their answer to the question: ‘What do you believe is the spiritual significance of music?’ This intimate and, at times, deeply profound study of individual beliefs about the interconnection between spirituality and music is presented verbatim in the words of each artist him/herself, without the inclusion of any questions that the editor might have addressed to the interviewees concerned and without the addition of editorial comment. Such a presentation allows the pure and authentic voice of the musician or author to emerge in all cases.The unbiased reportage allows for the juxtaposing of interviews with adherents to the more traditional faiths, such as Christianity and Hinduism, with others with those who adhere to more alternative practices, such as Satanism. The wide range of beliefs that is reflected in these pages also encompasses agnosticism and the spiritual questioning of such musicians as Michael IX Williams. Covering such subthemes as the anthropological, cultural and historical roots of music, as well as its therapeutic and universal appeal to the emotions, The Spiritual Significance of Music should be of interest to a wide range of music-lovers.By arranging the entries alphabetically, according either to the names of the artists, or to the names of the groups or bands to which they belong, Justin St. Vincent is able to express his lack of bias towards the musicians concerned. The reader is, accordingly, free to respond to what each of the interviewees has to say on a personal level.The work ends with brief overviews of the main work of each of the musicians and authors involved, including their web site addresses, the details of when and where each interview took place, and the names and web site addresses of the photographer concerned.As an indexer, I would have loved to have seen an index broadly split up into pertinent categories, expressing the major concerns of each of the musicians and writers. However, at the moment one may choose either to read the interviews conducted with those artists who have made the deepest impression on one’s life, or take pot luck and start reading at any point in the text (you might be pleasantly surprised by the serendipitous findings that you make). Of course, there are also the black-and-white photographs of each artist interviewed, so that if you are particularly interested in female music and writings, for instance, you might choose to read all those interviews conducted with women. However, no matter how you choose to read this text, you are bound to learn more about the main theme: the spiritual significance of music, as personally experienced by more than one hundred contributors, many of whom are extremely well known.