Various Artists

Music of the World's Peoples, Vol. 5

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This is the only volume to credit the sources of various recordings (sometimes Henry Cowell's collection, but frequently other Folkways releases). Perhaps earlier volumes are culled from Cowell's collection exclusively; much of the best stuff here comes from Cowell and Folkways founder Moses Asche.

This volume includes a ragged Jamaican calypso; a bagpipe-and-drum dance from Asturia (northwestern Spain); a high-pitched women's chorus and drums from Southwest Africa; a metrically complex, but rhythmically simple, Spanish guitar-and-bass instrumental from Honduras; a striking melody sung by a lone Byelorussian woman in characteristic Slavic style; ornamented voice, pipes, and drum from Algeria; a boisterous Zulu men's chorus (Edwin Mkize and Group) in the contrapuntal style popularized by Ladysmith Black Mambazo; laid-back Cajun music; authentic Hawaiian chant; a wood-block groove from Haiti; a haunting Ethiopian lament that hints at how strange music from this part of Africa can be; droning Temiar dream music from Malaysia; Burmese comic opera with devilishly irregular tempo and phrasing; an exquisitely ornamented Syrian vocal accompanied by oud (lute), violin, and hammered harp; an Afrikaans fol dance from South Africa, thoroughly Dutch; a typically Slavic Polish women's chorus with attractive bowed string interludes in an unusual scale; swaying Andean strings, flutes, and drum from Bolivia; a kinetic North African/Arabic hybrid from Morocco; an ancient Coptic chant from Lebanon; a beautiful Nepalese folk song, surprisingly free of Indian influence; indigenous choral harmony from Fiji; and Ella Ward's lilting Gaelic song, which ends all too soon.