Wednesday, December 19, 2007
ONE OF THE STRANGEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL ETNO-WORLD RECORDINGS I HAVE
ALBUM``````````````IF I'D BEEN BORN AN EAGLE
One of the strangest world-etno mixes I've heard so far. They sing in their native language (Tuvian) which of course I dont understand but somehow it all sounds warm and familiar. Some people cannot listen to them because at some moments they sound "far out there", somehow "not-human" and "paganistic".
Their themes are uniquely simple but at the same time emotionaly complex experiences of Night and Day, Love and Hate, Human Conversations, Human Desire for Eagle's View of Earth, Surrounding Landscapes and Strange Lights in the Sky (Aurora Borealis).
Instruments and melodies they produce are a mixture of russian, turkish and mongolian folk, buddhist and shamanic throat singing wrapped in the finest western production skills.
The beauty of this album is that there is no avantgarde experimentation (this is straightforward etno music) and yet some songs remind me of some western experimetal-ambient artists. In years after this album, the band started rock-oriented collaborations with a number of western artists and for me - killed everything they made on this epic recording. Fortunately I managed to save this album on some of my oldest mp3 disks so here it is:) This album is probably the most interesting etno-world music on this planet. A must have.
Where they come from:
The republic of Tuva is one of the least known and most curious corners of Russia. The Tuvans are nomadic pastoralists by nature Buddhist and shamanist by religion, Mongolian by cultural heritage, and Turkic by language.
The remote region of Tuva, one of the new countries formed with the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., has produced one of the world's most unusual vocal groups, Huun-Huur-Tu. Masters of the throat singing style of xoomei, in which a vocalist produces two or three notes simultaneously, the group has been warmly by an international following. According to Jazz Times, "a rustic joyousness and unadulterated expresiveness come out of these musicians". Analyzing Huun-Huur-Tu's music, The Chicago Tribune, wrote, 'it is unfamiliar yet very accessible, an other-worldly but deeply spiritual music that is rooted in the sound of nature". Dirty Linen took a similar view, claiming, "this music is both very spiritual and down to earth, grounded in a strong sense of place, yet its appeal is universal." In addition to recording their own albums, the members of Huun-Huur-Tu have contributed their unique vocals to albums and/or performances by Frank Zappa, The Chieftains, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, The Kronos Quartet and L. Shankar and Ry Cooder's soundtrack of the film, Geronimo.
Huun-Huur-Tu's third album shows the group broadening the scope of its music. As the ensemble members themselves point out, there's a great deal more to Tuvan music than throat singing, although it might well be the form that grabs a listener's attention. This is their attempt to show both the historical and contemporary colors of Tuva, with old melodies but also many from the last 30 years that have become a part of the national consciousness. And they also explore the inevitable connections between Russian and Tuvan music. But throughout it all, the rhythm is that of the horse, which is that of Tuva. That's not to say they've made a turn away from their trademark throat singing. It's still here, and still gloriously otherworldly, but at the same time incredibly accessible and completely human, with plenty of passion and all the soul of the best of Memphis.