Various Artists

Music of the World's Peoples, Vol. 4

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Another excellent volume that collects a Pygmy song uncharacteristic enough to make me wonder whether this cut is mislabeled; a clangorous metal percussion ensemble from Borneo (said to be an imitation of the Javanese gamelan, but sounding nothing like it); a gorgeous Swiss yodel; Yaqui harping from Mexico that sounds nearly Andean; a Russian folk tune that Cowell characterizes as having been citified, disseminated by radio, and re-appropriated by country folk; a jaunty Estonian men's chorus in a "somewhat early-seventeenth-century style"; ostinato-based Rumanian folk music that, but for some odd intonation, might pass for Steve Reich; a powder keg groove from Ceylon that erupts into wild drum solos; stately Austrian oom-pah-pah with surprising metrical idiosyncrasies; complex Samoan choral singing; an unaccompanied folk song from Brittany; Portuguese Christmas singing in a pre-tonal style; a spicy Venezuelan dance; an angular Armenian dance sung and played in unison; the joyous sound of Swedish fiddlers; a meandering Javanese vocal duet accompanied by gamelan; mysterious Korean classical music that sounds either delicate or threadbare; a rocking Kurdistani duet for drum and zorna (double reed); and finally Louisiana's own Snooks Eaglin -- who's still at it some 40 years later, for what it's worth -- moaning the folk blues "This Mean Old World."