Nan-Sheng-She Ensemble

China: Nan Kouan, Vol. 1: Music and Court Songs

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A collection of songs of the Nan-Kuan style, from Southern China. As stated in the liner notes, the style "may require repeated sessions before its beauty can be fully understood." To reword, the style is most definitely an acquired taste. The music is performed to perfection by a troupe of musicians (some of the last ones left specializing in the style) from Taiwan. The vocal technique is intentionally overly nasal, which can quickly leave a grating effect on the listener. Aside from this, the instrumentation is traditional Chinese -- the pipa, the tung hsiao end blown flute, the erh-hu, and the like. For those interested in Chinese music for the "silk and bamboo" style, this is definitely not the album to look for. For those interested in a much more obscure style that's almost forgotten even in China, it may be a much more appealing work.

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