Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The Secret Museum Of Mankind, Vol. 1: Ethnic Music Classics 1925-1948
Genres: World Music, Pop, Latin Music
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It ain't ethnography. But it's a blast.
june2222 | 02/25/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ignore the Ken Hunt review above. It's one of those arch, over-styled critical nitpickings to which the only reasonable response is, "Wull DUH!!!" This listener came to the "slightly unsettling realisation" that this CDs blows quickly through continents when I read the track list, before I bought it. This CD is exactly what it purports to be: a lightning romp through a world of regional music styles in the days before Cold War internationalism. It may not work as a study, but the music is varied and entertaining, sometimes very good, and the juxtapositions are startling and occasionally funny. In short, it's FUN."
june2222 | 05/19/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is the first in a series of ethnographic recordings from Shanachie. This is an incredible service to music lovers - recordings from as far back as 1925, from places as diverse as Rumania, India, and South Africa, that were in grave danger of being lost forever. Truly remarkable, truly authentic, this series is essential."
Astounding world music from times gone by
Josh Z. Bonder | Toronto | 12/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review is intended to address the entire series (vols.1-5), seeing as most people will begin their foray with volume 1. This is a truly remarkable set of albums from the always excellent Yazoo label. The beauty of these recordings is that they convey an authentic and engaging picture of the traditional cultures which spawned them, before they were forever changed by the encroachment of modern "popular" culture.
The songs on these discs span the globe in their origin, and run the gamut from astounding demonstrations of skill and dexterity on a vast number of unique intruments, to tunes that will make you want to just get up and dance. From the festive, expressive and plaintively beautiful, to the eerie and downright bizarre. The notes give excellent explanations of the origins and meaning of each song, although thanks to the expressiveness of the music, meaning is usually pretty clear even if one doesn't understand the language of the lyrics.
Being the proud owner of all 5 volumes, I hope I can present you with a slightly more objective review than some of the others who may only own the volume they're reviewing. On the whole, each album has its ups and downs, and these will surely be different for each listener. However, these may also change over time, as some of the songs I used to skip over have often grabbed my attention after many listens. I take this as a good indication of the quality of the music contained herein, and the many redeeming values of music that slowly grows on you. To my ears, the strongest tracks on each CD are of equal value and interest, and anyone with the chutzpah to look into this series would be well served by any of the volumes. That said, this first volume might just have the most consistent level of high quality music, but the fact that I acquired this one first has allowed me the most time to fall in love with it.
So, if you are interested in experiencing unspoiled music from a wide variety of non-homogenized global cultures, and don't mind a little bit of hiss and the odd utterly bizarre performance, this series is for you. If the Secret Museum of Mankind has piqued your interest and left you wanting more quality vintage world music compilations, check out Black Mirror, Victrola Favorites and Sprigs of Time. Don't let this series remain a secret!"