Friday, March 19, 2010

CD Review: Urna's 1999 "Hodood"


Hodood, or "in the steppe", is a more traditional, yet somewhat modernized recording with various instrumentation, awe-inspiring vocals, and spacious sounds. Hodood is a perfect journey through a Mongolian and Chinese musical history. This album includes a little throat-singing, spoken word, and a sheng, also known as a mouth organ. A drum, zither, and cello to round out the instrumental repertoire. Urna's vocalizations are indicative of some European and Scandinavian folk-roots music. However, Urna's voice is distinctly Mongolian. One highlight of many is the track, "Sangjidorji", which is a rather poignant song about one of the most famous Freedom Fighters from the Ordos (southern Mongolia). The incredible quality of the music and production reminds the listener this might be a Real World Records release. In fact, it is difficult to believe all the sounds on Hodood do not incorporate some type of electronic instrumentation. The mix of shamanic sounds, haunting vocals, cool instrumentation, attractive packaging and detailed liner notes in English, Mongolian, and Chinese, make Hodood a remarkable album of contemporary Mongolian music. ~ Matthew Forss

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