Print this Page

World Music CD Reviews Asia & Far East


By Bruce Miller
Published March 13, 2007

Music of Central Asia Vol. 1: Mountain Music of Kyrgyzstan
Smithsonian Folkways


Like Tuva’s famous musical sons, Huun-Huur-Tu, Tengir-Too plays the ancient music of their homeland. Both these bands adapt what has traditionally been nomadic solo performance to a group framework, giving it a more contemporary, and perhaps more formal context in the hope of reaching beyond the boundaries of the Kyrgy mountains. This septet of vocalists, jew’s-harp players, komuz (a three-stringed lute) strummers and choor blowers plays songs of loves lost and liberation from the Mongols. Elsewhere, the ensemble comes together for powerful instrumentals that, with their two-stringed fiddles and flutes, sound almost Irish. Central Asia’s Aga Khan Music Initiative co-produced this amazing collection, which comes with a DVD filled with footage of solo komuz masters, who also build instruments and expound on the importance of playing. Watching these musicians is worth the price of the disc alone, as one realizes how connected folk music, and therefore all cultures truly are.