Deben Bhattacharya

Inside Afghanistan

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Rarely, if ever, has Western attention been as focused on Afghanistan as at the start of the new millennium. So it's an apt time for an expanded reissue of this CD, Inside Afghanistan, which first appeared in LP form as "Music From Afghanistan," albeit with fewer tracks. Some excellent vintage field recordings from the '50s and '60s are here, collected by Bhattacharya, although the sleeve notes leave something to be desired. The bulk of the material (seven out of 14 tracks) comes from Mohammad Naim Mazari and Malang Nerjabi, whose duet on drum and ghaichak is never less than stunning. However, unlike many field recording albums, the performers here are all accomplished, and in some cases, professional, musicians. This album offers glimpses into different traditions within Afghanistan, including the country's most famous instrument, the rubab, which seems to have descended from the lute. While it has its failings, it's still a fascinating document.

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