Sunday, February 22, 2009

In review--Globetrotting Rhythms

Oreka tx
Nomadak tx
World Village

When we forget how wonderful and magical the world is, a collective of musicians come together to remind us of the musical language we share in common. The collective project, Nomadak tx lead by a pair of Basque txalaparta players (percussive instrument similar to a xylophone), that go by the name Oreka tx. This exotic recording brings together nomadic musicians from Saamiland, the Saharan desert, Mongolia and India to perform along side a little-known instrument from Basque Country.

The first track, Lauhazka combines txalaparta with Saami yoiks, Mongolian throat singing, Indian gypsy and Saharawis chants. The second track does a bit more of the same, but reminds me of Finnish music with its fiery fiddling. Think of this recording as a new wave of Silk Road music, this time with a greater emphasis on indigenous music. The last time, I experienced this type of collective was when I heard the Saami recording Frozen Moments (DAT) a few years ago. Certainly this music provokes excitement and intrigue as it takes global music across new boundaries and bridges gaps.

For many readers of this blog, this will act as an introduction to Basque traditional instruments. But even beyond that, Saami yoiks, and traditional music of the Saharawis and the indigenous people's of India and Mongolia might also need some introduction. When some people think of world music, they imagine fusion projects that create dialog between cultures, especially exotic ones. Nomadak tx highlights both familiar traditional instruments such as the Indian instrument that appear on this recording, but other sounds, less familiar also end up in the mix.

I think anyone interested in world fusion projects, music of India, North Africa, Mongolia, Spain and Saamiland will be delighted with this recording. described the recording as "somewhere between Baraka, Latcho Drom and Buena Vista Social Club." Certainly in their exploration of traditional music, globetrotters Harkaitz Martinez de San Vicente and Igor Otxoa brought refreshment to the world music genre.