Ethno-Dylanology: Alain Weber's 'From Another World: A Tribute to Bob Dylan' Takes the Greater Measure of Dylan Hits to the Global Counter

By Ian Holubiak on Mar 24, 2014 12:49 PM EDT

Ethnomusicology may span the global musical economy, but does that landscape include the croonings of Bob Dylan and his great measure of songs?

For Alain Weber, as Clive Bell notes in this month's The WIRE, it's a reason to tour the globe--taking the Tambourine Man in his back pocket and delving into cultures who haven't heard too much from.

The idea was conceived with the notion that Weber wanted "people like Dylan, people with the same spirit, poets in their own cultures. Some of them knew [Dylan's] music, some didn't."

And much like the Jewish troubadour from Minnesota, the Americana that he helped shape brings the world to a similar form.

Naturally, the language of music (just like language, itself) collides with some boundaries across cultures. Simple chord changes, like that of a I-IV-V blues progression, say, hardly translates to something more intricate.

"The sock of hearing 'I Want You' in Burmese [traditional] dress recalls Seu Jorge recasting an album's worth of David Bowie as Brazilian song over naked acoustic guitar for Wes Anderson's 2004 movie The Life Aquatic," Bell duly notes.

And like the ethnomusicology that helped catalog some of the world's greatest--and with giants like Alan Lomax bringing to light the brilliance of such artists as Woody Guthrie and Muddy Waters to the Library of Congress and beyond--Dylan takes the globe and breaks down more barriers than he thought possible (or, perhaps, anyone would "peg" him to think possible).

From Another World: A Tribute to Bob Dylan will be an essential disc for the world-wide Dylan court.

So, pick it up.

To wit, ahem, here's "Mr. Tambourine Man" from nowhere else than Bengal, India.

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TagsBob Dylan, Burmese, From Another World: A Tribute to Bob Dylan, Wes Anderson

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