Various Anthology Of World Music: Afghanistan

Afghanistan is a lot like Canada — a multicultural land that draws on the influences of surrounding cultures, traders and immigrants mixed with its own forbidding geography to create a fascinating range of music. Of course, this analysis is simplistic, but let’s give Canada a couple of thousand years to digest all its constituent influences. This anthology is part of Rounder’s massive undertaking to reissue 50 compilations of the work of European ethnomusicologist Alain Danielou. The liner notes are a clear exposition of the range of instrumentation incorporated by the nearly ten major cultures that populate the country. One CD is hardly enough to properly explore all these cultures, but as a listening experience, these recordings and performances are wonderful. Indian influences dominate the central part of the country and dhols, damburas and sitar-like sounds are familiar yet fundamentally different from their Southern cousins. Persian influences also abound in regions not necessarily contiguous to Iran. Most fascinating however, are the truly ancient examples of forms from the eastern region of Pamir in which Danielou notes congruence with long extinct strains of Italian, North African and Romany music. The rich array of reeds, strings, voices and percussion make this a very worthwhile sampler. (Rounder)