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World Music CD Reviews Asia & Far East

Various Artists

By Stacy Meyn
Published March 16, 2007

Tibetan And Buhtanese Instrumental And Folk Music Vol. 2
Sub Rosa 230

Field recording master and ethnomusicologist John Levy camped out in Bhutan to find inner peace while snagging some lovely folk songs from the area, following the acclaimed Tibetan Buddhist Rites from the Monasteries of Bhutan. Originally released on Lyrichord in 1972, this second collection sees new life on Sub Rosa, and its twenty timeless tracks weather well. Levy was one of the privileged few allowed into the isolated country of Bhutan, invited by its king to capture native performances. The music is primarily driven by a triumvirate of donglim (whistle flute), ho-chhin (fiddle), and dramnyen (seven-stringed lute). Throaty vocals from men’s and women’s groups are the norm, but presentation is otherwordly, from an Himalayan enclave which to date remains fairly untouched by the rest of the globe. Some songs are the hearty equivalent of blues while monks’ rattling percussion makes the spine tingle. Drums and cymbals propel lively dance songs.