Music from the Desert Nomads is the most comprehensive recording available of the tribal folk music of the North Indian state of Rajasthan. "Langa" is among the countless drifter communities present in this desert state, Bundu Khan (who performs under the moniker of Kohinoor) being its most important performers. The story goes like this -- Bundu Khan's performance (at the age of ten) in the India Festival held in London in 1982 impressed the Queen of England and she called him the "Second Kohinoor of India," after the name of well-known diamond from India. This album is an important resource for tribal folk researchers as well as for collectors of rare and endangered musical genres around the world. Firstly, Rajasthani folk is a rarity in terms of available recorded material, aside from the existing scratchy quality or despicable lounge fusions that flood the B-grade markets. Recorded in July 1994 at the studios of Radio Cologne in Germany, the quality here is superb, which augments the importance of this album. Secondly, the highly diverse folk culture of India failed to find any acceptance in the popular media, and most of the deep-pocketed centers of folk music innovation have not seen a light outside their birthplaces. Kohinoor Langa, incidentally, has performed in more than 40 countries and thus brings in relevant experience to supplement the weight of this album. The vocals here are mostly indecipherable due to the heavy use of local dialects, yet the soulful singing of incredible virtuosity rejects this requirement to relish the music. "Bana Rah Baga Meh" and "Karioh" display the soulful vocal range of a 12-year-old boy, and his absolute grip on the composition flaunts his musical genius. The songs are mostly traditional rajasthani tunes, molded in the local style. Music from the Desert Nomads also showcases the sound of a highly diverse range of Indian traditional musical instruments. "Solo for Karthal in Tritala" and "Solo for Karthal in Tintala" are awe-inspiring instrumental solos on Krthal, an ancient instrument popular among folk and devotional singers in India. "Rajasthani Dhun" is an instrumental solo on Morchang, an Indian version of the Jew's harp. Most importantly, Music from the Desert Nomads gives a small peep into the Rajasthan folk music and for a passionate investigator, this desert state offers numerous musical tribes to explore like Manganiyar, Sapera, Jogi, and Bhopa; each highly dissimilar in style and expression.
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AllMusic Review by Bhasker Gupta