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Hanggai,
He Who Travels Far 4Q Records, May 31

06/23/11
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



NPR nerds were introduced to this Beijing oddity a little while back, a project that covers roots folk in perhaps the oldest possible way someone could. Bandleader Ilchi is an inquisitive Han Chinese who became fascinated with throat-singing, a technique that makes the voice sound like a Frampton-era talk-box guitar, while most of the rest of the crew are native Mongolians with a bone to pick with their peers, young lambs to slaughter who’ve hatted out to Beijing mostly to watch their dreams of yuppiedom wither into nothingness in the face of oppression. There are odd instruments afoot, but many if not most of the songs sound a lot like your basic Irish-big-jam outfit experimenting with Chinese melodies. Ilchi’s throat-singing adds an eerie edge to the first few tunes before he lets up on it and simply lets this ancient, irresistible, endearing style speak for itself. Suffice to say this is 2011’s absolute must for world music investigators. A+

—Eric W. Saeger






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