Various Artists

The Rough Guide to Yodel

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You might think yodeling isn't a great theme for a CD, but you'd be wrong. This very intelligently compiled disc is actually a little gem. If you believe yodeling is restricted to Switzerland and country music, you're in for a big surprise. There's plenty of the latter, including a wonderful old cut from Carolina Cotton as well as new pieces from Gillian Welch and Cathy Fink, in addition to several others. But it's when things move overseas that they get really interesting. There's "Inuit Wedding" from Tuvan throat singer Sainkho Namtchylak, which is dangerously wild, and Kishore Kumar's "Main Hoon Jhoom Jhoom Jhumroo," where the yodel goes to Bollywood, with quite explosive and delightful results. However, it gets even more bizarre with Christine Lautenburg's interesting avant-garde exploration of the Swiss yodel, which is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and warm your heart, and Alpendub vs. Stuart "The Man" Cable on "Jaga Ode [Dubtronic]," possibly the first recorded mix of dub and yodel. Wonderfully quirky, and traveling as far as Cameroon, this is just...great. And Ed Sanders' "Yodeling Robot" goes beyond bizarre to wonderful.

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