Various Kyrgyz performers

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COMPOSERS: Various Kyrgyz performers
LABELS: Smithsonian Folkways
ALBUM TITLE: Music of Central Asia Vol. 1: Mountain Music of Kyrgyzstan
WORKS: Music of Central Asia Vol. 1: Mountain Music of Kyrgyzstan
PERFORMER: Various Kyrgyz performers
CATALOGUE NO: SFWCD 40520
A glorious explosion of musical colour launches this new series of 20 CDs – each with exemplary liner-notes plus DVD – celebrating Central Asia’s ancient but still thriving traditions. Volume 1 is devoted to just one ensemble, which under its inspirational leader, Nurlanbek Nyshanov, runs the whole gamut of Kyrgyz vocal and instrumental genres. Some songs are infinitely beguiling, others have that heroic resonance typical of wandering nomad bards; since instrumental music is regarded as the highest expression of the Kyrgyz soul, it’s appropriate that the tracks on the lute, jew’s harp, and horsehair fiddle should be the most moving. The most arresting track comes from the muted band plus a shaman epic-reciter.

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Michael Church.