Month: April 2010 (page 2 of 4)

Voices of Indigenous Siberia – The Musical Culture of Yakutia

A new finding aid from the Archive of World Music provides the opportunity to explore and listen to the music of the Yakut people. It features freely available online audio content with the download of RealPlayer.

Bruce Gordon and Eduard Alekseyev at work in the Audio Preservation Studio, 2009

Bruce Gordon and Eduard Alekseyev at work in the Audio Preservation studio, 2009

The Eduard Alekseyev Fieldwork Collection of the Musical Culture of Yakutia, 1969 – 1990 contains audio and video that documents traditional religious and ritual cultural expressions. Sakha (Yakutia) is the largest sub-national entity in the world. It is a circumpolar region, half of which lies above the Arctic Circle. From the 1960s through the 1980s, publication of materials about the rituals of indigenous cultures was suppressed, due to the Soviet policy of the times. The Yakut language is part of the northern Turkic linguistic family, and is considered a “vulnerable” language, according to the UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger.

Eduard Yefimovich Alekseyev (b. 1937, Yakutia) resides in Boston and is a well-known ethnomusicologist and researcher of traditional Yakut music. He is the author of more than 100 publications in Russian, including such books as A Study of the Origins of Modality with Regard to Yakut Folk Songs (1976) and The Pitch Nature of Primitive Singing (1986).  Alekseyev worked very closely with Ghilyana Dorjieva (another scholar of indigenous musical culture in Russia, in particular, of the Kalmyk people) to identify and describe the materials in the collection.

Khomus by Nathan Hamm, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License
Khomus by
Nathan Hamm

The collection includes original field recordings made by Alekseyev between 1969 and 1990; most were created in a fieldwork setting, but some were made during concerts, or at festival events of Ukrainian people in Kiev and Crimean Tatars in Simferopol. The main genres found in the collection are the olonkho (epic song and recitative), ohuokai (round dance), shamanic ritual and mystery performances. Frequently heard musical instruments are the khomus (jaw or jew’s harp), the diungiur (shaman’s drum), and the bayan (button accordion).

In this video, Eduard Alekseyev speaks about the olonkho genre and its transformative purpose as well as its change as a genre over time.

Audio Preservation Studio engineer Bruce Gordon has worked closely with Alekseyev to digitally preserve the polyester and acetate audio reel tapes in the collection — the end result of their work is the streaming content available in the finding aid, such as this recording of Vasiliy Osipovich Karataev performing the “Song of the Horse” from the olonkho “Erbekhtei Bergen.”

– Donna Guerra

What’s New in the Recordings Collection?

The Music Library receives boxes of new CDs and DVDs every week; Peter Laurence, the library’s Acquisitions Assistant for Recordings, shares a few of the latest offerings to catch his eye:

Stockhausen Text-CDs

A new group of Stockhausen Text-CDs (vols. 16 – 22) that feature the composer lecturing on his own works, including Momente (1963), Telemusik (1966) and Hymnen (1967). Also included here are interviews from 1970-72 and a private recording of Kurzwellen from Osaka, Japan.

Find them here: Loeb Music Library CD 36773 – CD 36779.

Jelly Roll Morton: The Complete Library of Congress Recordings By Alan Lomax

An 8-CD box set of stories and songs by Jelly Roll Morton recorded at the Library of Congress in 1938. In addition to solo piano versions of his songs, this collection also provides Jelly Roll’s lively and earthy recollections of the early years of jazz… earthy enough to earn the set a Parental Advisory “Explicit Lyrics” sticker.

Find it here: Loeb Music Library AC 36768

Medieval Jazz Quartet plus three

Early Music meets jazz! Composer, pianist and vocalist Bob Dorough conceived and arranged this unique and surprisingly swinging collaboration (originally released in 1961) that features recorders, crumhorns and a jazz rhythm section. Dorough sings and plays tenor recorder, accompanied by LaNoue Davenport and other members of the Manhattan Recorder Consort, and by guitarist Al Schackman, bassist George Duvivier and Paul Motian on drums. Dorough went on to work with Miles Davis and to compose most of the music for the educational animated TV series Schoolhouse Rock.

Find it here: Loeb Music Library CD 36513

Riccardo Chailly: Live, The Radio Recordings from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Sparked by Chailly’s amazing performance with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra at Symphony Hall on February 25th, I’m including this recently acquired 13-CD set of live recordings made in Amsterdam between 1985 and 2003. Included are works from Beethoven to Berg to Berio, as well as music by Dutch composers such as Peter Schat, Alphons Diepenbrock and Tristan Keuris. Rounding out the set is a bonus DVD of Chailly and the orchestra performing the Rite of Spring, The Firebird and Pulcinella.

Find it here: Loeb Music Library CD 36092

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