Various Artists - Mountains of Tongues: Musical Dialects from the Caucasus
- Stewart Smith
- 8 November 2013
Remarkable collection documenting music from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan
Dubbed 'the mountain of tongues' by Arab travellers, the Caucasus is home to a remarkable range of languages and culture. This collection documents music from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, recorded from 2012 to 2013 by ethnomusicologists Stefan Williams Fa and Ben Wheeler. Ignore political borders, the collectors aim to capture the music of the region's smaller folk cultures and ethnic minorities. Rarely heard languages (Lezgi and Batsbi) are voiced alongside rare instruments such as the Tushetian chianuri (a small bowed instrument) and the agach komuz (a fretless lute). There are some beautiful singers here, such as Ashig Garib, whose throaty ululations add grit to his high and lonesome tenor, and the collected voices of the Anchiskhati Choir, whose starkly beautiful 'Adila Ali-Pasha' recalls Gaelic psalmistry. Perhaps most striking of all are the Molokon cousins singing along to a recording of their grandmother; a magical dialogue with voices from the past.