Various Artists

The Dulcimer Collection

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Drawing from a number of regional music albums, ARC combines tracks of various dulcimers from around the world to make The Dulcimer Collection. The album opens with one of the finest exemplars of current gypsy cimbalom playing in Kálmán Balogh (known perhaps best in the West from his work with Muzsikas) on the Hungarian cimbalom. Following is Xu Ping-Xin on the yang qin, playing what is perhaps an Uighur melody. Ravi Shankar's santoor-playing protégé Tarun Bhattacharya provides a nice raga, and Olga Mischula contributes a number on the Belorussian dulcimer. Maggie Sansone adds in a piece for the British hammered dulcimer, and George Ioan Miu introduces the Romanian tambul (which is very similar to the cimbalom). ARC stable Mongolian artists Eschiglen add in a number on the joochin, which is derived from the Chinese yang qin, and an unnamed artist from Uzbekistan plays a nice number on his chang, taken from the archives of Deben Bhattacharya's travels. A Greek santouri piece from Michalis Terzis precedes a nice Iranian medley on the santur from Hossein Farjami, and the Ukranian group Veseli Muzyky contributes a work involving the tsymbaly (another homologue of the cimbalom). Finally, Mitzie Collins provides a medley of Jacobite numbers and Alzbeta Lukacova finishes the album with a work for the Slovakian cimbal. While the styles of music vary quite a bit throughout the course of the album, the timbre of the various dulcimers remains surprisingly similar, leading to a nice amount of continuity. For sheer diversity overall, one might want a different album, but for a nice listen, this one does just fine.

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