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The Silk Road: A Musical Caravan
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What if Marco Polo had owned a tape recorder? And what if his epic travels across the heart of Asia had taken place not at the end of the 13th century, but at the beginning of the 21st? The Silk Road: A Musical Caravan presents a panoramic sweep of the vast and rich musical territory that an adventurous traveler like Polo might uncover in this vitally important region today. 2-CD, full color booklet with extensive notes, photos, 47 tracks and 146 minutes.
"What if Marco Polo had owned tape recorder?" This intriguing concept is raised in the liner notes to this impressive two-CD set, which wanders along ancient Asian trade routes known as the Silk Road. The first disc, Masters & Traditions, deals with formal styles performed by and for sophisticated connoisseurs. Meanwhile, the music on Minstrels and Lovers is played by amateurs who are part of daily life and thus reach a wider audience. The imaginary caravan passes through Iran, Kazakhstan, China, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, and Afghanistan, encountering nomads, mystics, and bards along the way. The instruments are scratchy, pungent, and/or serene, while the singers weave a potent spell out of a millennium's worth of slow-changing rural and urban vistas. In the opening essay, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the project's artistic director, pleads for intercultural communication and empathy. This compilation provides an exotic, brave, entertaining first step in that direction. --Christina Roden
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 5.12 Ounces
- Manufacturer : SMITHSONIAN FOLKWAYS
- Original Release Date : 2002
- Run time : 2 hours and 26 minutes
- SPARS Code : DDD
- Date First Available : July 27, 2006
- Label : SMITHSONIAN FOLKWAYS
- ASIN : B000063NDQ
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #136,134 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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It's good listening too, everything well played well recorded.
The 'journey goes from the middle East all the way to China but most selections come from Central Asia, not somewhere that's ever been well publicised for it's uniquely beautiful music.
Only shame is that over a double album it would be nice if somewhere along the silk route trip there was time to wait around for some of the longer pieces to develop, rather than presenting excerpts. All the tracks presented here are short, and while some Central Asian styles are design to say it all in under 2 minutes there's quite a few fadeouts here that leave you wanting more.
With running times of 71 & 74 minutes you're not being short changed, but even without dropping tracks we could have had a few extended pieces at least. It's tempting to think that compiler YoYo Ma might be playing to the short attention span of the imaginary "casual listener" here.
It's all attractively and tastefully packaged, with some wonderful photos including unusual instruments and colourful costumes.
So, buy this, and your next stop is here:
Music of Central Asia V10 (CD + DVD) The Silk Route