Various Artists

Javanese Classical Music & Songs

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The first volume in a small series covering the rapidly disappearing music of Java's Sunda region, this album focuses on the classical vocal and instrumental musical traditions of the area. There are works for the suling flute and zithers which take some prominence with a stylized sound hearkening to nature with the chirps and atmospheric noises afforded by the instruments. The vocal styles used are based on similar modes as gamelan music from elsewhere in Java, though there are obvious differences in the use of a pair of alternating voices and a large gong ensemble. The overall effect of the album is a mysterious one. The music calls somewhat poetically (the lyrics are from poetry in large, after all), and almost seductively. A timely recording of a dying art, hopefully to spawn more interest in future years.

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