Thursday, September 27, 2012

CD Review: Roksonaki's 'Nauryz'


Kazakhstan's Roksonaki is an ethnic ensemble with traditional instruments and tunes that highlight the beautiful music indigenous to the region of Central Asia on the historic Silk Road route. The music is diverse and pop-focused on two tracks--"Saulem-ai" and "Aitys." The first is rather melodic and catchy with a folk-rock style and backup vocals. The latter is a more contemporary tune with atmospheric winds and bossa nova style embellishments. However, the throaty, guttural vocals remind us we are not too far from Central Asia. However, the song merges into a pop-driven medley of angelic voices and showtune-type arrangements with operatic vocals and Broadway-esque renditions. The other tracks contain Jew's harp, drum-kit, keyboard, danyrga, bagpipes, dombra, hand drum, kyl-kobyz, acoustic guitar, saz-syrnay, and assorted percussion. The eleven tracks are a perfect accompaniment to anyone's Central Asian music library. ~ Matthew Forss

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