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Various Artists - An Anthology of Mongolian Khöömii [Buda musique - 2017]

In recent years the interest in throat singing, overtone singing, or khöömii(Mongolian throat singing) has grown & grown. With a project like Russian Phurpa, causing much interest & critical praise with their dark blend of throat singing & dark ritual music. Here we have a nicely presented double CD & colour book  compilation, which focuses purely in on Mongolian throat singing- collecting together forty three tracks, from between the years 1954 & 2016.

The release comes in the form a long/tall booklet- with the two CD’s sitting  length ways inside  full colour inlay- this takes in a landscape photograph of  the Mongolian mountains, lush green grass, some cattle, and traditional tents.  The book part of the release is 46 pages long, and is glossy full colour through-out. The book content takes in bilingual texts- English, French & Russian( I think). And a host of photos. We get a write-ups/ detail about each of the forty three tracks, as well an introduction & explanation behind the anthologie.  All in all in nice, classy, and colourful looking release.

Track wise instead of sticking to a strict chronological year form- the forty three tracks jump around in both year of origin, type, and recording. Some pieces are recorded outside with  sounds such as running water or environmental sounds as a backdrop to the impromptu performance from a single singer. Others find the throat singer been joined by stark string back. Some have a selection of backing voices & instrumentation, with a head throat singer.  While others have full-on modern production- with synth, beats, etc used as a backing to the throat singing. These last type of tracks only appear on the end of the second disc, so for the most part the collection mangers to have a fairly timeless feel about it.

The mood & tone nicely varies through-out the two disc too. Moving from earthy & rousing, through to oddly elegant & melodic. Onto barren & slightly darker, through to buoyant & showy. Track length wise the forty three  tracks run between one & six mintues- so there are no real epic Phurpa work-out's here- but both disc move by in a well & balanced fashion. And twenty eight of the tracks featured here are exclusive to this collect- so even if you are familiar with the genre, they’ll be new stuff you've never heard.


So in finishing this is a most worthy, varied & classy looking compilation- offering a good cross selection of different types of  khöömii.  Of course this will be of appeal to fans of throat singing; but also fans of wider world music scene too.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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