Jajouka Rolling Stone: A Fable of Gods and Heroes

Stephen Davis, Author Random House (NY) $22 (297p) ISBN 978-0-679-42119-1
Rock writer Davis's ( Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga ) first novel about an ancient culture's struggle with modernity founders under the weight of its ambition. Set predominantly in the remote Moroccan mountain village of Jajouka, the first-person narrative chronicles an American journalist's encounters with the town's ``Master Musicians'' between 1973 and the present. Following in the real-life footsteps of pilgrims like William Burroughs, Ornette Coleman and Brian Jones, Davis's narrator sets out to penetrate the mysteries of Jajouka, its music and its rituals for National Geographic . Over the next 20 years, he sees this ancient society weave between atrophy and turmoil in response to both Western influences and pressures to change from within their own country. Davis convincingly portrays life in Morocco but fails to evoke the magic of the music. His superficially sketched Moroccan cast of characters soon blurs into a jumble of indistinguishable Arabic names. Readers whose curiosity is stirred by the glimpse of Jajouka might find greater satisfaction in one of the recordings or publications described in these pages. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
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