David Darling / David Darling & The Wulu Bunun

Mudanin Kata

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AllMusic Review by

The Wulu Bunun people of Taiwan specialize in a gloriously subdued style of harmony singing. In fact, their song "Pasibutbut" changed the way Western ethnomusicologists thought about the evolution of harmony. It's included here, a mystical, magical vocal prayer with a coda from David Darling's expressive cello. The vast majority of the pieces here intertwine voice and cello more closely, although there are solo cello pieces ("Wulu Dream" and "Wulu Mist") and pieces just for the singers. Recorded in a valley near the village of Bunun, it's cloaked in ambient natural sounds which blend perfectly alongside Darling's individual playing style and the voices of adults and children. The marriage is close to perfect as the styles complement each other, as on "Bunun Tuza," where Darling simply lets bowed notes hang under the voices. The harmonies themselves are exquisite and without thought, and obviously fire Darling's plentiful imagination. He never adds too much, just what's needed to color and enhance the singing, whether something simple like arpeggios, or even a single note, or decorating with harmonics. The parts themselves are impressive; together they make something wonderful, more than their sum. It may never receive the exposure it deserve, but it's a gem.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:12 Amazon
2 2:26 Amazon
3 1:41 Amazon
4 3:14
5 3:50
6 3:35 SpotifyAmazon
7 2:43
8 8:56 Amazon
9 3:08 Amazon
10 3:10 SpotifyAmazon
11
3:59 Amazon
12 4:13 Amazon
13 3:54 Amazon
14 1:21 Spotify
15 8:24
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