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

Various Artists The Rough Guide to Rare Latin Grooves (Rough Guide)

Various Artists The Rough Guide to Rare Latin Grooves (Rough Guide)

For a very short while I played DJ in a fashionable bar for a few hours a night, about once a fortnight -- or a month -- or something like that. You can guess from my lack of enthusiastic... > Read more

Toumani Diabate's Symmetric Orchestra: Boulevard de l'Independence (/Elite)

Toumani Diabate's Symmetric Orchestra: Boulevard de l'Independence (/Elite)

Copies of this uplifting album by Diabate from Mali come with an intelligent and interesting DVD-doco which shines a light on the culture of the griot -- a caste of hereditary... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

JOHN SURMAN: The casually-dressed career

JOHN SURMAN: The casually-dressed career

The European jazz label ECM rarely uses photos of musicians on its covers: usually they are blurry photos taken out a moving vehicle; monochromatic landscapes; eerily evocative imagery . . . They... > Read more

Trade . . .Me? A story of failed entrepreneurialism

Trade . . .Me? A story of failed entrepreneurialism

The new poster boy for entrepreneurs is 26-year old Canadian Kyle MacDonald: he’s the guy who traded a red paperclip for a fish-shaped pen, then traded that for a doorknob, that for a... > Read more