Various Artists

Taiwan: Musique des Peuples Minoritaires (Music from Ethnic Minorities)

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An album from Arion presenting music of the minorities of the island of Taiwan. The album is broken into sections devoted to the Hakka (a branch of the Han people of Northern China), the Atayal (from the northern mountains of Taiwan), the Ami (in the Taitung Valley), the Bunun (hillsiders in the south), the Rukai (south of the Central Mountains), the Puyuma (south of Taitung), and the Paiwan (on the southern tip). The majority of the works are rather sparse instrumentally, and primarily group vocal pieces. One of the surprises on the album is the presence of a number of Protestant hymns from both the Bunun and the Paiwan. Overall not a bad album, at least for ethnomusicologists. For pure listening pleasure, however, one would be better off going for other forms of music, perhaps Chinese silk-and-bamboo tunes, or Japanese koto music. For that matter, just pick up Enigma's Return to Innocence (they're using a now rather angry Bunun farmer for the vocals anyway).

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