The Singer-Songwriter in Europe Book Summary/Review:
The Singer-Songwriter in Europe is the first book to explore and compare the multifaceted discourses and practices of this figure within and across linguistic spaces in Europe and in dialogue with spaces beyond continental borders. The concept of the singer-songwriter is significant and much-debated for a variety of reasons. Many such musicians possess large and zealous followings, their output often esteemed politically and usually held up as the nearest popular music gets to high art, such facets often yielding sizeable economic benefits. Yet this figure, per se, has been the object of scant critical discussion, with individual practitioners celebrated for their isolated achievements instead. In response to this lack of critical knowledge, this volume identifies and interrogates the musical, linguistic, social and ideological elements that configure the singer-songwriter and its various equivalents in Europe, such as the French auteur-compositeur-interprète and the Italian cantautore, since the late 1940s. Particular attention is paid to the emergence of this figure in the post-war period, how and why its contours have changed over time and space subsequently, cross-cultural influences, and the transformative agency of this figure as regards party and identity politics in lyrics and music, often by means of individual case studies. The book's polycentric approach endeavours to redress the hitherto Anglophone bias in scholarship on the singer-songwriter in the English-speaking world, drawing on the knowledge of scholars from across Europe and from a variety of academic disciplines, including modern language studies, musicology, sociology, literary studies and history.