• Music

    Various Artists – Fly, Fly, You Hardened Arrow: Round Dance Songs of “Polish” Old Believers from Altai

    The now-legendary Antonovka Records have done astounding work documenting music from Russia’s myriad of ethnic communities.  This one is from the so-called “Polish” Old Believers in the Altai region.  From the label’s Bandcamp site: “The ancestors of the Altai “Polish” Old Believers were peasants of the Vetka-Starodub territory of the priestly Old Believers, who fled from the persecution of the authorities to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and to the bordering area of the Starodub regiment as part of the Russia. Upon her accession to the throne, Catherine II invited the Old Believers to return to Russia with a manifesto. However, they…

  • Music - Spotify

    Yggdrasil & Vera Kondratieva — Timint Areh

    Yggdrasil are a Faroese project led by multi-instrumentalist Kristian Blak (whom I had the pleasure, many years ago, of meeting in Varna, Bulgaria) and a host of local musicians along with singer Vera Kondratieva from Siberia.  You would expect to hear a melding of Scandinavian and traditional Siberian music on Timent Areh, but this also adds elements of jazz, rock and maybe just a touch of post-punk.  It’s a fun album, not too terribly dark, sung beautifully and supplemented by a rather tight backing band.  Tutl Records, the record label Blak has run since the 1970s, has released another gem. …

  • Music

    Vartra – Basma

    Our beloved friends at CPL-Music have submitted a bizarre and completely engrossing album of ethereal tribal music from Serbia in the form of Vartra.  The band was founded in 2017 by Siniša Gavrić and sisters Ivana and Aleksandra Stošić.  What makes the music so interesting is that it not only draws from Serbian folk themes, but also Vlach themes as well.  The Vlachs are terribly underrepresented in folkloric music, and the chants on this disc serve to remedy this issue.

  • Music

    Sak Sok Ensemble of Fershampenuaz Village – Nagaybak Songs From Chelyabinsk Region, Russia

    A fascinating release from our friends at Antonovka Records.  From their Bandcamp website: “Nagaybaks are an ethnic group that descends from the Christian Tatars and shares the same self-name with them — “Kreshenner”, which means “Baptized Ones”. There are about 10 thousand Nagaybaks in total, they live primarily in the Nagaybaksky district of the Chelyabinsk region, in the South Ural area. In the Russian empire the Nagaybaks belonged to the Cossack estate. Many of their villages were named after European settlements, at which the Nagaybaks distinguished themselves in the battles. Fershampenuaz is the capital of the Nagaybak district, it got…

  • Music

    Divanhana – Zavrzlama

    In January, we had the pleasure of reviewing a track called Ćilim from Bosnian ethno-folk band Divanhana, and now, it’s our pleasure to bring you the rest of the album! Zavrzlama is a collection of sevdah tracks which have a darker, more minor-key quality than what I’m used to from the genre. For my ears, it gives the music an even more sensual tinge than normal. There is a muted joy in tracks like Peno, my favorite song, which reminds me why the Balkans is the place I love more than anywhere else in this world despite the challenges they…

  • Music

    Jan 疆 Hasker – Pastoral Song – 牧歌

    Jan 疆 Hasker is a folk musician out of Xinjiang, China, but this is a bit of a twist, as he uses Altaic and other folk melodies for his musical base rather than Uyghur.  From his Bandcamp website: “Jan made this album collecting, sorting and adapting musical elements from China Xinjiang’s Altai nomadic horse people’s culture. Pastoral song’s lyrics are all about the attachment and nostalgia for this homeland and its folk culture. Jan sings in several Altai languages including Kazakh, Tuva (Russian Altai), Kirgiz and Oirat (Mongolian tribe). These nomadic folk songs and melodies travelled through lands and time.…