Khara (ХАРА) – Mandragora (Мандрагора)

Khara is an Old Slavonic word meaning “the smile of God.”  Truly, God must have been smiling to allow such a weirdly joyful music to come together.  Mandragora brings together a bardic style of rock & roll infused with traditional music from their native Khakassia, whose native inhabitants share a lot of cultural affinities with the Kyrgyz people.  Other influences in this record include Tuvan throat-singing by Alexey Khovalyg, a talkbox expertly handled by band leader Alexander Medvedev, and Alexander Pakhtaev adding such as the morin khuur or horse-head fiddle common in this part of Russia and Central Asia.

This is pretty solid ethno-rock, and it’s particularly good to see Russia’s ethnic music scene beginning to thrive, as this is the place I started learning about what is commonly called ‘world music’ in my youth.  It’s high time I paid a visit to see such music performed with my own eyes again.

Special thanks to the good souls at Sketis Music for enlightening me to this release.

Blogger, label owner, record store buyer and all around charming lad who loves to share music with one and all.

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