Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Marvelous introduction to an unknown tradition
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This CD contains fantastic field recordings of two of the musical traditions of Mongolia, that of the Muslim Kazakh people and the epic tradition of the Buddhist Mongols. The Mongol material is weaker; long, slow, stately songs in praise of the natural beauty and pastoral virtues of the Khangai mountains, which, while not unpleasant, is simply not striking enough to be of real interest. Fortunately, there are only half a dozen such tracks at the end of the CD. The Kazakh material, on the other hand, is stunning, and makes up a good three-quarters of the disc's material. Mongolia's Kazakh population consists largely of people who fled across the border into the Altai mountains in the thirties and forties to escape Stalin's repression in Kazakhstan proper, and here they have managed to preserve traditions, which suffered greatly elsewhere under the Soviets (including hunting from horseback with trained eagles). Their songs are accompanied by the dombra, a form of lute which, though it has only two strings, produces a surprisingly rich, warm sound. The songs themselves remind one of Celtic ballads, and despite the strange language seem quite familiar and accessable. The songs melodies are extremely beautiful and intricate, sophisticated beyond what most people will be accostomed to in folk music. The sound quality of the recordings is fine and the performers are very good, both instrumentally and vocally, sounding much more spontaneous and lively than the state-schooled performers on Japanese releases of Kazakh music. Despite the rather extraneous Mongolian material, this disc is a marvelous recording of music which cannot be found elsewhere."