World Music CDs: November 2012

by Ian Dando / 24 November, 2012
Ian Dando's roundup of World Music CDs.
Armenian Spirit

ARMENIAN SPIRIT, Hespérion XXI et al, Jordi Savall (director) (Alia Vox). The duduk is “the only instrument that makes me weep”, said Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian. Existent since 99BC, the duduk is a double-reed woodwind with a range of a minor tenth from F sharp above middle C to ledger line A. They are mostly played in pairs, one on the bourbon drone and the other on the melody. Landlocked Eurasian Armenia came late to harmony. Not that they need it, as the sparse beauty of only two duduks is self-sufficient. Their tone approximates a poignantly warm saxophone. Their static and meditative sound matches the country’s mountain landscape with its many Apostolic monasteries, one of which is the oldest national church in the world. Armenia was the world’s first Christianised country in 301AD, 81 years ahead of Rome. It traces its antediluvian roots back to Noah and the flood, which they date as 2348BC. Savall is booked for Womad next March. His selection of 18 tracks here covers the early medieval period to the 19th century with a 317-page multilingual book crammed with historical notes. Top drawer.

THE WIND HORSE, Anda Union (Hohhot/Southbound). This octet of men and two women, who performed at this year’s Womad, assertively preserves the nomadic culture of North Mongolia from extinction. The Wind Horse’s 13 items comprise throat singing activated by those hard throaty basso bottom Cs of the men, plus long songs with solo female voices singing slow and decorated vocalises with nasal vibratoless tone. The impressive and plucked and bowed instruments finely match the outdoor aura of the singing style. The moving tribute to their iconic Genghis Khan (track 12) underlines the gut honesty of their presentation. Recommended.

RAIN OF BLESSINGS: VAJRA CHANTS, Lama Gyurme et al (Real World/Southbound). Saviour of this erratic CD is the Bhutan-born Gyurme, whose early attraction to monastic life led his serenely stentorian basso profundo towards the meditative sound of Tibetan Buddhism’s ritualistic incantations. He’s outstanding. Buy it just for that. Some of the accompaniments containing bells and percussion sound genuinely Tibetan; others are amorphous mush. A mere one page of notes contains little more than acknowledgements and names.

RADIO BAGHDAD, Fawzy Al-Aiedy (Institut de Monde Arabe/Ode). Five of the 14 tracks sound exotically Iraqi and the others start likewise until Western corruption of the East is demonstrated in the entry of a drum kit and Western middlebrow melodic style; Fawzy’s 30-year exile in France has probably made him more Western than Iraqi. Good background music for a Middle Eastern restaurant but not recommended for true ethno-musicologists.
MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage


Work visas for New Zealand hit an all-time high
76950 2017-07-26 07:41:55Z Economy

Work visas for New Zealand hit an all-time high

by Mei Heron

The number of work visas issued in New Zealand has hit an all-time high and the number will keep rising, according to the government.

Read more
Why Paula Bennett is trouble for the National Party
76812 2017-07-26 00:00:00Z Politics

Why Paula Bennett is trouble for the National Part…

by Graham Adams

With the solo-mum-to-Cabinet humblebrag getting old, and not enough attention paid to her portfolios, the Deputy PM is now a liability for National.

Read more
Smuggled stories of totalitarianism from North Korea
76852 2017-07-26 00:00:00Z Books

Smuggled stories of totalitarianism from North Kor…

by James Robins

The Accusation has sparse and simple stories of ordinary people caught up in North Korea’s regime.

Read more
A ride-on mower made me the man I've always wanted to be
76810 2017-07-26 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

A ride-on mower made me the man I've always wanted…

by Greg Dixon

Aucklander-gone-countryman Greg Dixon fulfills his lifelong obsession: owning a ride-on mower.

Read more
Media warned over 'carte blanche' use of social media posts
76909 2017-07-25 13:31:44Z Social issues

Media warned over 'carte blanche' use of social me…

by Max Towle

“Just because it’s viral, doesn’t mean it should be broadcast as news.”

Read more
Win a double pass to The Dinner
76907 2017-07-25 12:21:03Z Win

Win a double pass to The Dinner

by The Listener

The Dinner is based on the international best-seller by Herman Koch, which follows two successful couples over one evening.

Read more
Boris Johnson: NZ 'great exporter of human capital'
76870 2017-07-25 09:47:44Z Politics

Boris Johnson: NZ 'great exporter of human capital…

by RNZ

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says NZ is a great exporter of human capital to the UK and he wants to ensure Kiwis can "come and go" freely.

Read more
Council snoops are cracking down on wood fires – that's bonkers
76790 2017-07-25 00:00:00Z Social issues

Council snoops are cracking down on wood fires – t…

by Bill Ralston

Anything that deters people from keeping their homes warm over winter is dumb.

Read more