Maybe for the last part. If A-Pop takes off does anyone think the United States will get behind that? I'm not betting on it, although I've heard and read Peter Gabriel has been producing some great albums recorded by African musicians over the years.
Question from Student: In your book you show how innovations in musical styles and trends come from marginalized groups and more oppressed groups in society. I was wondering which way you see this trend going in the future?
TG: I will talk about this, and I will make a prediction—and you can hold me to it. This is one of the most interesting things I discovered in my research. When I started I thought—like everybody—that the key divide in music is between highbrow and lowbrow. Or, put another way, there’s music for the elites and different music of the great masses of people. I thought these were opposed to each other. What I learned is that the high music borrows from the low. I know those are pejorative terms, as they are typically used, so you need to understand I’m talking metaphorically. The key fact is that the music of the masses of people is the engine room of innovation. But here’s the twist: ultimately the people at the highest levels—the elites and authorities—crave the energy of that innovative outsider music.
So here’s my prediction. I just saw an article yesterday about how Sony and other record labels want to expand their positions in Africa. They have ambitious plans to record more African music and, of course, to sell more music in Africa. I listen to a lot of this music, and much of it is very exciting. I believe you will see an extraordinary number of amazing musicians and bands come out of Africa over the next 10 or 20 years.
It makes sense because the music of Africa deserves this attention. It also makes sense because this is the most obvious source of outside innovation in the current-day music world. You’ve heard about K-Pop and J-Pop, but get ready for A-Pop. It will be the next big thing.