Badakhshan Ensemble: Song and Dance from the Pamir Mountains (Smithsonian/Elite)

 |   |  1 min read

Badakhshan Ensemble: Rapo
Badakhshan Ensemble: Song and Dance from the Pamir Mountains (Smithsonian/Elite)

Okay, this is not for everybody ("Who is that?" said my wife, and not in a favourably curious way) but the previous collection in this Music of Central Asia series (see tag) was an impressive package of a CD, an excellent doco-DVD, and a very useful essay in the booklet.

This equally handsome pack, volume five in the series, introduces music from the mountainous region around Tajikistan and Afghanistan where people in the valleys have little contact with each other, and so distinctive cultural practices and musics have developed.

This ensemble plays folkloric songs from the region but are also pragmatists: "We don't perform folklore at weddings, "says founder Soheba Davlatshoeva, "if we did, no one would hire us. What people want to listen and dance to is pop music."

That pop isn't like our pop however, as the DVD here -- with shots of the dramatic landscape and remote villages -- illustrates.

The CD however favours the traditional songs drawn from popular poems and texts by the likes of Rumi and Hafiz. There are instrumental pieces here which in my view are pretty exceptional . . . but that is not a view shared.

If someone yells from the other room "Who is that?" it is nice to be able to yell back, "Why this is the Hafiz poem Zohidi Pokizasirisht set to music by Mukhtor Muborakqadamov and performed by the Badakhshan Ensemble. The singer is Aqnazar Alovatov incidentally."

That stops 'em in their tracks -- and they'll never ask the question again.

They might insist you or this fascinating album in an excellent series move out however.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

ASIF ALI KHAN INTERVIEWED, SORT OF (2014): The gang's all here

ASIF ALI KHAN INTERVIEWED, SORT OF (2014): The gang's all here

Interviewing Sufi qawwali singer Asif Ali Khan at the recent Womad Taranaki was an experience. Not only does he arrive in the small porta-cabin at the side of one of the stages but so does the... > Read more

Nour Eddine: Morocco; Traditional Songs and Music (Arc)

Nour Eddine: Morocco; Traditional Songs and Music (Arc)

The propulsive, rhythmic music of the Gnawa in North Africa has been surreptitiously infiltrating Western ears through the likes of Bill Laswell and his world music meltdowns with jazz and de facto... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Stir-fry noodles with chicken and macadamia nuts

Stir-fry noodles with chicken and macadamia nuts

To be honest I can't remember quite where this one came from but the hand written and much stained recipe reminds me how often we have used it. Dead simple. Sort of meal-in-a-minute stuff.... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Sony "Original Album Classics" series: Pop-pop pop music

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Sony "Original Album Classics" series: Pop-pop pop music

You can't help notice how cheap it is to get into popular music these days as record companies repackage and recycle albums in small and economic sets. The advantage of these budget-price... > Read more