Friday, July 15, 2011

v/a "Rajasthani Street Music"

A former member of Frank's APA gave me a copy of this great CD, recorded on his travels in India. I understand that this forms the rough cut of what will one day be a Sublime Frequencies release. As such you can guess what you are getting here – lots of people banging away at various kinds of folk music. Some of it is devotional, some of it seems to be wedding music, and a lot of it seems to be Indian gypsy music of one sort or another. There are a couple of really beautiful tracks with a woman from the Dewara family singing away on them*.

One thing I found interesting about the presentation of this was how many of the performers were named. This makes for quite a comparison with Streets of Lhasa, the most similar Sublime Frequencies record in my possession – on that one the performers are described ("man with vocal", "man and child with erhu", "terrifying child singing unaccompanied"), but not named. I do not know if there is any significance to so many of the Rajasthani performers here being named (or the Tibetan performers on the other record remaining anonymous), but it did make the people here seem a bit more individualised musicians and a bit less like a faceless procession of funny foreigners.

On a purely technical level, I was very struck by the quality of the recordings here. From talking to the compiler, I understand that he was working with very basic sound recording apparatus, but he has managed to capture a very atmospheric sound lacking in obvious blemishes.

I look forward to the appearance of the commercially released version of these recordings, as it will be interesting to play compare-and-contrast, if any record shop in Dublin deigns to stock it.

*she is either Alaap or Sharwa Dewara; I'm afraid I don't know enough about the people of Rajasthan to be able to say which is a woman's name and which a man's. The man is (presumably) her husband, and he has a nice singing voice too.

An inuit panda production

Street Panda

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