Rango: Bride of the Zar (30IPS/Southbound)

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Rango: Henna Night
Rango: Bride of the Zar (30IPS/Southbound)

Just as pop and rock suddenly throws up new cover stars, so too in world music -- and Rango out of Egypt by way of the Sudan with their spiritual trance sound, odd-looking and strangely tuned wooden xylophone (the rango), driving percussion and music which rises to states of ecstasy are the latest off the block.

There is no denying the danceable quality of this exciting music and the exhortion to "come on" seem hardly necessary. But interesting though that rango instrument is, it is the electrified five-string simsimiyya offset by the earthy, traditional sound of the lyre-like tanbura which add the most emotional colour here and add a lightly funky feel.

The informative booklet tells of the stories behind the songs (the local Dracula character, the wedding music tradition), the migration of the music to Egypt) and of shakers made from empty aerosol cans filled with shells.

The reason however that Rango have started commanding media attention in Britain was on the back of tour late last year -- and as always with much world music (and pop and rock of course), it is probably best seen live to get the full effect.

Much of what is on the album is interesting, sometimes exciting and certainly diverting, but hardly seems to be so different from much music from the region if you are familiar with it.

If you aren't . . . then we have a video for you . . .

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