Various Artists

Venezuela: Music of the Venezuelan Yekuana Indians

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Listeners who collect world music recordings for moments of supreme weirdness may have a fondness for this record, which doesn't really represent the label's shining hour as ethnomusicologists. The far from generous serving of musical samples was collected over a long period of time, leaving one to believe there might have been other, or longer, examples that could have been included for a more satisfying album. The enclosed booklet, though informative, is awkwardly laid out and badly printed. Aspects of what are here, though, lean toward the sublime. Records of shaman chanting are accompanied with a calabash shaker that sounds like giant cicadas broadcasting through a PA system. Side two ends with a piece called "Welcoming Music," in which a jumpingly joyous rhythm underpins the friendly sound of bamboo clarinets, and it would be a great way to be received anytime one has been away from home. Elsewhere there is a dialogue between male and female clarinets that would give Benny Goodman something to think about: a flute made out of deer bone and, of course, the turn of the century cylinder recording from the collection of German explorer Theodor Koch-Grunberg that brings things to an eerie close.

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