Tien Shan Suisse Express

Paleo Festival Nyon 2002

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In recognition of the International Year of the Mountain as declared by the UN, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation organized this fascinating assemblage of 21 musicians from the mountainous regions of Mongolia, Khakassia, Kyrgystan, and Switzerland (or "Suisse"). The result is this live recording from July 2002 in Nyon, Switzerland. The unlikely union of Tibetan throat singing, Alpine yodeling, the various Asiatic stringed instruments and percussive devices, the Alphorn, electric bass, and drums make for intriguing possibilities. Zabine, the extraordinary Austrian singer/yodeler, is probably the most recognizable name on the bill, but she is joined by noted musicians from each of their respective locales. Vyatcheslav Kouchenov is regarded as the finest overtone singer in Siberia, and held in similar esteem is vocalist Kenjegul Kuvatovo from Kyrgystan. The instrumentalists and instruments themselves are breathtaking, as a variety of unusual rhythms, drones, and other effects are explored, either in a solo setting or in tandem with those of differing cultures. Paleo Festival Nyon 2002 is required listening for those whose idea of world music extends no further than the Putumayo Records catalog, and suggested listening for those who appreciate the music of other cultures but are no longer impressed by the vapid coffeehouse and bookstore variety of said music.

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