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He Who Travels Far

He Who Travels Far

15 Oct 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Jan. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Hanngai are an extraordinary phenomenon. A band comprising
ethnic Mongolian and sympathetic Chinese musicians striking
out to put their stamp on a suffocated indigenous culture.
That this is their second album presupposes a greater degree
of tolerance for diversity by the current Chinese powers-that-be
than I had thought possible. Or perhaps they just haven't
noticed yet! Either way 'He Who Travels Far' is a brave bid
to preserve and honour Molgolian tradition through the use of
folk material, conventional and unorthodox instrumentation and
the unusual and distinctively gutteral delights of throat singing.

Some of the material comes curiously close to the sounds which
might come out of a Texas barn at Thanksgiving! 'Yuan Ding Cap'
and (especially) 'Zhan Dan' are built for a Western hoedown!

There are moments of extreme pathos too. 'Hai La' is a haunting
composition inhabiting a familiar folk-like ballad structure but
whose words (the meaning of which are not within my limited
linguistic grasp!) have a yearning, almost otherworldy quality.
Part of the magic is born out of unfamiliarity and uncertainty.

'Dorov Morlaril', too, with its haunting vocal drones and yelps
mixes up the exotic with raucous rock riffs to deliver a highly
unsual cocktail (The spirit of Gogol Bordello and The Pogues
seems not a million miles away!) of quasi-gothic-country-punk.

'Togur Gin Shan' brings the album to a rousing conclusion with
a sound perhaps a little like the hooves of many horses galloping
wild and free across the great grassy plains of their homeland.

Sometimes music can be a powerful tool on the road to freedom.

Highly Recommended.
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