Rough Guide to the Music of Central Asia

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LABELS: Music Rough Guide
WORKS: Rough Guide to the Music of Central Asia


Rough Guides always operate with

a finger to the wind, and – given the

way the world is going – this Central

Asian record comes very much a

propos, though it does slightly suffer

by trying to please both the serious

world-music brigade and the

youth market simultaneously. But if

compiler Simon Broughton proves

that Uzbek pop can be as boringly

bland as ours, he also reveals
what singular beauties lurk behind

the Central Asian banner.


Here is Tajikistan’s great singer

Davlatmand, weaving exquisite

vocal traceries over his raw and

plangent setar (three-string lute),

and here too is Uzbekistan’s top

shashmaqam mezzo, though that

Western term doesn’t begin to

reflect her extraordinary timbre,

Munadjat Yulchieva. Here are a

plethora of gifted exponents on

the nomad string instruments of

old Turkestan: lovely to hear the

horse-hair fiddle sounding as

mysterious as its shamanistic

origins imply. But this CD also

reveals that conservatoire-trained

musicians are remaking their

instrumental and vocal traditions

without destroying them.

Fascinating. Michael Church