Asia & South Pacific: 2017 Nominees
Homeland on Hohhot Records
This nine-strong ensemble from Inner Mongolia first came to international attention with the album The Wind Horse and a WOMAD appearance in 2011. Their follow-up is even more impressive, an arresting mix of scratchy morin huur (horse-head fiddle) and growly throatsinging on a set of striking songs about nature, mythology and Mongolian history. A Top of the World in #124.
Mei Han and Red Chamber
Classical & Contemporary Chinese Music
on ARC Music
On her first international release, Mei Han, a maestro of the guzheng (a 21-string Chinese zither) who now lives in the US, innovatively mixes Chinese melodies with arrangements of folk tunes from as far apart as Bulgaria and Borneo and her own compositions, backed by an exceptional ensemble of traditional plucked-string lutes. A Top of the World in #123.
Khmer Rouge Survivors
They Will Kill You if You Cry on Glitterbeat
Led by Amnesty International activist Arn Chorn Pond, this features survivors of Pol Pot’s murderous crusade against Cambodia’s artists and intellectuals, and was released to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the genocide. Its unique mix of South-East Asian blues, poignant narrative and arresting vocals packs a powerful emotional punch and was reviewed in #121.
The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band
Planet Lam on Studio Lam
The traditional molam music of South-East Asia and its development into a spacier, more dub-oriented style by Bangkok’s DJs drives this album by a band at the forefront of Thailand’s contemporary music scene. Ancient temple instruments mix with more contemporary sounds while the molam roots remain potent. Reviewed in #124.