Samul-Nori: Drums and Voices of Korea (1983)

One of the "Nonesuch Explorer" series, the world music collections of the US Nonesuch Records. Samul-Nori is South Korean contemporary percussion music based on Korea's traditional Nong-Ak (means "Farmers' Music"), with the elements of Korean shamanism's instrumental ensemble called Sinawi. Samul-Nori is performed with four traditional Korean musical instruments: Kkwaenggwari (small gong), Janggu (hourglass-shaped drum), Buk (barrel-shaped drum), and Jing (large gong), and it also features voices like rallying calls and prayer songs. Samul-Nori originally referred to a four-piece percussion ensemble formed in 1978 by the leader Kim Duk-soo, who was a member of Namsadang (Korean itinerant troupe of performers). This recording was made during the first official U.S. tour of Kim Duk-soo's Samul-Nori in November, 1983. Cosmic sound space featuring a feast of spectacular and vibrant percussions and ritual prayers.

Samul-Nori: Drums and Voices of Korea


P'ansori: Korea's Epic Vocal Art & Instrumental Music (1972)

One of the "Nonesuch Explorer" series, the world music collections of the US Nonesuch Records. Pansori is Korean traditional vocal performing art (epic narrative music) performed by a singer and a drummer playing a drum called buk, which was developed in the southern province of the Korean Peninsula in the 18th century, and became popular in the 19th century. Pansori is thought to be evolved from prayer songs of Korean shamanism, accompanied by instrumental ensemble called Sinawi. This album has 7 tracks, the two tracks are Pansori (excerpts of the scenes from the Pansori stories, "Heungbuga" and "Simcheongga"), and other 5 tracks are instrumental music in the line of Sinawi, featuring p'iri (double reeded wood wind), string instruments called kayageum and kuhmoongo, haegeum (bowed string instrument), and changgo (drum). This album is a kind of a sampler of traditional music of southern Korea. Sung by a Pansori singer Kim So-hee. Recorded in Washington, D.C. in 1972 during their tour in the U.S. Produced by David Lewiston, the recording engineer of Nonesuch Records.

P'ansori: Korea's Epic Vocal Art & Instrumental Music


Music of the Rain Forest Pygmies (1961)

A historic and world's first recording which introduced the music of Mbuti Pygmies living in rainforests of Africa (Lyrichord). Recorded at the Ituri Forest in the northeastern Congo (formerly called Zaire), central Africa, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, by a Britrish-American anthropologist Colin M. Turnbull, known for his famous book about Mbuti Pygmies, "The Forest People" (1961). Vocal music accompanied by percussions, featuring complex polyphony by collective improvisation, with lots of yodels and shouts. Natural sounds in the forest are also recorded as they are, including the noise of thunder. The original LP was released in 1961. Released on CD in 1992.

Music of the Rain Forest Pygmies


JVC World Sounds/Buddhist Chant II: Gyuto Monastery, Bomdile (1990)

One of 'JVC World Sounds', Victor's world folk music series. Liturgical chant by Buddhist monk group of of the Gyuto Gonpa, a tmple of esoteric Tibetan Buddhism. Meditative and cosmic sound space featuring strong overtones of ultrabass male voices like earthquake sounds, which are about five pitches lower than bass (the lowest vocal range of bel canto vocal music), with metal percussion instruments and Tibetan horn. The Gyuto Gonpa is located at Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh in India. This is the world's first recording (in 1989) at the 14th Dalai Lama's temple, Namgyal Dratsang monastery at Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India.

Buddhist Chant II: Gyuto Monastery, Bomdile


The Red Army Choir/The Best of the Red Army Choir: The Definitive Collection (2002)

A compilation album (2 CDs, 32 tracks in total, FGL Productions/Silva America) of the recordings by the Red Army Choir (Alexandrov Ensemble), the choir and ensemble of Russian armed forces (the former Red Army and Soviet Union, later Russian Federation), formed by Alexander Alexandrov in 1928. The ensemble consists of male soloists/chior and an orchestra with Russian folk instruments, such as balalaika (stringed instrument) and bayan (accordion). Includes Russian popular/folk songs such as "Kalinka", "Korobelniki", "Song of the Volga Boatmen" and "Dark Eyes", civil war songs such as "Partisan's Song" and "The Red Army is the Strongest", revolutionary songs such as "Varchavianka" and "Slavery And Suffering", "National Anthem of the USSR" composed by Alexander Alexandrov, "Cossack's Song" (excerpt of the opera "The Virgin Earth"), "Let's Go" (from the film "Maxime Perepelitsa"), and others. Conducted by Boris Alexandrov and others. Selected from the 4-CD set released on FGL Productions, France in 2001.

The Best of the Red Army Choir: The Definitive Collection


Los Incas/Best Selection (2009)

A compilation album (20 tracks in total) which includes the famous recordings by Los Incas, an Argentine group for popular music based on folklore music of the Andes (the area of the Inca Empire, Latin America), who had worked in Paris since the 1960s. Released on Universal Music Japan. A SHM-CD. Performed by a small band (called Conjunto) with quena (flute), guitar, charango (stringed instrument), percussion, vocals and others. The melancholy melodies with pentatonic scale and plaintive sounds of quena are impressive, and there is also the rhythmical, happy dance music. "El Cóndor Pasa" is a song written by the Peruvian composer Daniel Alomia Robles based on traditional Andean folk tunes, and the cover version by Simon & Garfunkel (using Los Incas' recording as the accompaniment) became a hit. "El Humahuaqueño" is a north Argentine carnival tune, and the original of a chanson song "La fête des fleurs". "Guantanamera" is a song composed by a Cuban singer Joseíto Fernández. "La Bamba" is a Mexican folk dance song (a cover version by Los Lobos is famous).

Best Selection


Ahmet Kusgoz & Ensemble/Turkish Gypsy Music (2001/2009)

Turkish traditional gypsy music (instrumental ensemble) played on taragot (woodwind instrument), clarinet, kanun (zither), violins, oud (lute), darbouka, davul, bendir (drums), def (tambourine) and percussion. Dance music featuring exotic near-eastern melodies and funky rhythms on 9/8 measures. Performed by Ahmet Kusgoz (clarinet) and others. Recommended for belly dancers. Released on ARC Music, UK, in 2009, as a re-release of the CD titled "Gypsies of Turkey" (2001) with a new title.

Turkish Gypsy Music


Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares (1987)

"The Mystery of Bulgarian Voice" (Nonesuch). The worldwide popularity of 'Bulgarian Voice' started with this one. Mysterious, Asiatic female chorus with harmonic overtones and dissonances. Soul-stirring music. Recorded in Bulgaria by Marcel Cellier, a ethnomusicologist/organist from Switzerland. The chorus by The Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir under the direction of Philip Koutev and Krasimir Kyurkchiyski.

Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares

Bali: Gamelan & Kecak (1987)

One of the "Nonesuch Explorer" series, the world music collections of Nonesuch Records in the US. Gamelan (percussion ensemble), Kecak (trance dance music with male chorus) and other traditional music recorded digitally in Bali, Indonesia, by David Lewiston, the recording engineer of Nonesuch Records. The sound quality is good. The metallic sound of Gamelan is beautiful.

Bali: Gamelan & Kecak

JVC World Sounds/Gagaku: Court Music of Japan (1981)

One of 'JVC World Sounds', Victor's world folk music series. Gagaku is a collective term for Japan's traditional instrumental music based on music from Asian countries such as China and Korea, and ancient Japanese music. It is one of world's oldest musical forms for large ensemble, and has been inherited as ceremonial music for court, shrines and temples for over a thousand years. Includes three typical 'Bugaku' (dance music) pieces, two Chinese origins, 'Manzairaku' and 'Ranryo Ou', and a Korean origin 'Nasori'. Performed by Tokyo Gakusho.

JVC World Sounds/Gagaku: Court Music of Japan