WORKS: Songs and Morin Khuur
PERFORMER: Various musicians
CATALOGUE NO: C 560224
This box of delights reflects the brilliant artistry of eight local musicians. Mongolian nomads conjoin earth and sky in a shamanic spirit, as well as in pastoral reality; the simplicity of their traditional instruments – flute, fiddle, vocal cords – is as extreme as the richness of the sound-worlds they use them to conjure up.
While the wonderfully ornamented flights of the ‘long song’ singer take us on a journey heavenwards, the diphonic (overtone-sung) growls of her male colleagues draw us deep into the earth; the gently jogging rhythm of the ubiquitous horse pervades many tracks.
Some songs have a Chinese tinge, others recall Kazakh balladry; the men’s artistry on the morin khuur two-string horsehair fiddle is astonishingly subtle.
Ethnomusicological CDs are now somewhat rare because they don’t ‘sell’, which makes this one all the more precious. Michael Church