Sari Gelin Ensemble: Music of Azerbaijan (Elite)

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Sari Gelin Ensemble: Shushter rangi
Sari Gelin Ensemble: Music of Azerbaijan (Elite)

The music of Central Asia has featured on Elsewhere previously, notably with the excellent Smithsonian Folkways series (see tags) which come with fascinating DVD mini-films.

This is can be "difficult" music but it is also quite breathtaking and this album by a creditable quintet is no exception.

The songs are long (three of the seven go past the 12-minute mark), they are improvised, there is a nakedly emotional quality, and the keening voices and instrumentation can be transporting.

But yes, this can be "difficult" and won't be to everyone's taste.

However this album with thorough liner notes on the region, the musicians, the songs and the instrumentation is the one to take you over the hurdle of unfamiliarity.

And it would be a hard heart that wasn't moved by much of this music.

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James Littlewood - Dec 16, 2008

#2 in my best-of nominations.

Because it reeks, drips, vibrates of passion, guts and fortitude. You have to brace yourself just to listen to it. It sounds as if it comes from - well - far, far away, and yet so close ...

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