Music from the Oasis Towns of Central Asia

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: GlobeStyle
PERFORMER: UYGHUR MUSICIANS FROM XINJIANG
CATALOGUE NO: CDORBD 098

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 The XINJIANG recording, made in the UK on an Asian Music Circuit tour, will subvert most preconceptions about Chinese music as it originates from a Muslim culture in central Asia. It’s quite close to the expressive ambit of the republics that used to be in the Russian empire, with ornate intense vocals, insistent rhythms and Sufi literary roots, supported by lively playing on lutes and shawm and fiddle.

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Some of the male singing isn’t exactly elegant but the spirit and energy are there all right; it would have been good to hear more of Pasha Isha, said to be the most famous woman singer in the region, in her sixties now but as vigorous as they come.