Sunday, February 8, 2009

CD Review: The Music of Burma

Nai Htaw Paing Ensemble
Mon Music of Burma
Fire Museum Records

The traditional music of Burma is diverse, and in some cases, has been in danger of disappearing from today's society. In response, ensemble leader and assistant lecturer at Yangon Cultural University, Nai Htaw Paing, works to revive the music of the Mon people throughout Burma and the world. The Mon people actually comprise about 2% of the total population of Burma. The musical culture of the Mon people is rich in history and instrumentation. The Mon people are not immune to the musical influences of neighboring Thailand and Cambodia. As a result, the instrumentation is similar in appearance and sound, which includes a zither, gongs, string fiddle, xylophone, reed-oboe, and bamboo flutes. Vocals are included, though sparingly. This is mostly an instrumental work that should not be passed up. The 13 tracks are representative of the Mon culture and are not modernized to Western tunings or modern beats. Fans of traditional recordings of Southeast Asian ensemble music should acquire this album for their collection. This recording is limited to 500 copies, so it won't last long. Spellbinding! ~ Matthew Forss

No comments: