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The Historic Series: World Library of Folk and Primitive Music - Yugoslavia, Vol. 5

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Album Review

In 1951, at a festival for the Yugoslav Council for Science and Culture, Peter Kennedy ran around from stage to stage with a tape recorder collecting sounds from a variety of regional ensembles. Put on at the height of an effort to forge a homogenous Yugoslavian identity from the country's disparate folk arts, the festival brought together a kaleidoscopic variety of groups from such regions as Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Serbia. The fruits of Peter Kennedy's diligent recording efforts are presented here, on World Library of Folk & Primitive Music, Vol. 5: Yugoslavia. This two-CD set includes 61 songs and a set of detailed liner notes. Originally published in 1954 by Alan Lomax, the recordings include an a cappella chorus singing about the rebirth of fertility, a group of men singing in a narrow polyphonic range about Yugoslavia's mountainous landscapes, and a duet of musicians playing wooden double-reed flutes called sopeles. Though each of the tracks is impressive in its own right, some standout moments include the wheezing and discordant sounds of a Croatian bagpipe on "Balun Uz Mih" and the polyrhythmic snycopations of a 12-year-old drummer on "Vlaskoto." Unlike the superb quality of the performance presented here, Peter Kennedy's recording quality varies from good to not so good. Although this may be a drawback for some, most listeners will find the varying audio resolutions nothing but endearing. In short, this is an incredible set of CDs that remind you that the former Yugoslavia was, and will continue to be, a land of many musics and much more than just a powder-keg of unrest.


Born: 15 January 1915 in Austin, TX

Genre: World

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Few figures deserve greater credit for the preservation of America's folk music traditions than Alan Lomax. Scouring the backroads, honky tonks, and work camps of the Deep South, he unearthed a treasure trove of songs and singers, documenting the music of the common man for future generations to discover; through Lomax's pioneering efforts, cultural traditions ranging from the Delta blues to Appalachian folk to field hollers continue to live on, with his invaluable recordings offering a compelling...
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The Historic Series: World Library of Folk and Primitive Music - Yugoslavia, Vol. 5, Alan Lomax
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