The Chinese Ensemble of Yunnan Province has its own unique style many of the musicians live in remote regions, which make them less influenced by the outside world. This definitive high-end audiophile anthology features an unparalleled quantity of musical instruments including free reeds, gourds and even a tree leaf!
Beloved for its spicy cuisine, the Yunnan province is home to a group of cultures considered ancient even in China. Some melodies are of Qin dynasty vintage, which is over 2,500 years old. Each minority in the area has its own distinct form of opera as well other more casual forms. The music exhibits contributions from Middle and Southeast Asia, plus an underpinning of Yunnan aboriginal sources. This collection is from the Hong Kong-based Hugo label, which is devoted to preserving Chinese classical and folkloric music. As usual, the selections are performed on original instruments by masters of the genre, the sound is demonstration level, and the liner notes are copious, if poorly translated. The tunes are pretty and engrossing but somehow ephemeral, like a moonrise on a cloudy night or a film score in search of visuals. --Christina Roden