various artists, |
World Library of Folk
& Primitive Music: Yugoslavia
Part of Alan Lomax's worldwide project to collect folk music at its source, Yugoslavia is a two-CD collection of music from most regions of the former Yugoslavia. Peter Kennedy recorded the songs and dance tunes in 1951 at a four-day folk festival, and the diversity in the music reflects that of the population.
The first CD contains music from Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzogovina, and the second CD contains music from Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia. This re-release from Rounder also includes tracks not previously released, and very thorough liner notes include detailed descriptions of the music and instruments as well as lyrics in the original language and in English.
As might be expected, this is a CD set for the individual with a serious interest in folk and primitive music. The quality of the recordings varies, with sometimes abrupt transitions, and some performances are more polished than others. But the listener with the patience to listen and study the excellent new introduction and liner notes by Ankica Petriviž and Rajna Klaser will be treated to a cultural banquet.
The tracks are packed with performance on a bewildering array of instruments such as the tamburica, a long-necked lute, the sopele, a wooden double-reed instrument, multiple variations on the bagpipe, the gusle, a stringed instrument similar to a psaltery, the tapan, a kind of bass drum, and many more. The music employs scales and modes foreign to a Western ear, and it's disconcerting, but fascinating, to find that something that sounds like a song of mourning is actually a traditional wedding song.
Some of the tracks are stunningly beautiful, others are unusual and intriguing, and there are some to which I will never grow accustomed. The overall goal, however, is preservation of a diverse culture's folk tradition, and in that this thorough collection succeeds admirably.
[ by Donna Scanlon ]