Album Review

Nai Htaw Paing Ensemble – “Mon Music of Burma ” – [Fire Museum Records]

Thurston Hunger   7/6/2006   CD, International

Sounds of a lost Kingdom? Excellent notes from Rick Heitzman
in the liners detail, past persecution and present-day more
subtle erasing of the Mon tradition. But Heitzman’s prize
is these pristine recordings. Every string buzz and gong
floating fill gently brush your cortex, although the sounds
are angular in our ears, the realization here is remarkable.
You get the quick flurries that I associate (wrongly?) with
shadow puppets; music box muted charms (#3) as soft as Mr.
Roger’s sweater; Talutt totem flute bamboo windfall (#9);
several tracks get the dizzy Khanwe double-reed buzz, often
chasing MI MYA THAN’s serene vocals. Many short tracks with a
range of enchantment, Mon music shouldn’t vanish into the void
of a monolith culture, at the same time crazy cross-pollination
experiments might not be the necessary death some might fear?
A regal release from Fire Museum. -Thurston Hunger

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