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Tomoko Sugawara: Along the Silk Road [Digipak]

Track List

>Archaic Phrase for Kugo
>Waves of Kokonor, The
>Wang Zhaojun
>Haikugo I
>Haikugo II
>Haikugo III
>Night in Shiraz, A
>Shakugo I
>Shakugo II
>Shakugo III
>Cantiga de Santa María [No. 249]
>Cantiga de Santa María [No. 213]

Album Remarks & Appraisals:

"The Kugo is a nearly 4000-year-old angular harp without vertical support which was last current 300 years ago. One instrument has been reconstructed from an image on a Chinese reliquary box from the 6th or 7th century, probably from Xinjiang, now in Tokyo National Museum. There is also a fragment of an old kugo in Nara. The new instrument has 23 gut strings and is 104 cm high.... This disc is of considerable historic and ethnomusical interest. It can also be enjoyed simply as music. Recommended." -Classical.net

Album Notes

Personnel: Robert Dick (alto flute); Ozan Aksöy (bendir, darabukka).

Audio Mixer: Jay Mark.

Liner Note Author: Bo Lawergren.

Recording information: Jay Mark Studios, New York, NY.

Photographer: Karl Giant.

The kugo, or chang -- the name varies with the country -- is an old, L-shaped harp that died out in about 1700 after being played for many centuries in countries situated along the length of the Silk Road. These compositions, several of them modern with others taking ancient fragments and elaborating on them, illustrate the instrument's melodious delicacy, whether alone or played with the flute or with percussion. It's not a purely academic exercise, but it's almost like slipping back through time. The final two pieces date from the late 1200s and Spain's King Alfonso X. The modern work sits perfectly comfortably next to the old material, and in the comfortable hands of Sugawara, a window opens on another world. ~ Chris Nickson


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