Wes Dyring derives enormous satisfaction from listening to music from cultures around the world. Here is a sampling of some of his recommendations.
When this album came out in 1988, it moved me to the depths of my soul. The women of the Bulgarian choir sing the folk-based music of their country with a tonal intensity like nothing else on Earth. The sounds will take you to worlds you have never dreamed. I very highly recommend it!
This is an outstanding recording by some incredible musicians. I love Kalhor’s wonderfully espressive improvisations on the kamanche, the traditional Persian fiddle, and his collaboration with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider makes for a profoundly moving experience. Be prepared to be transported.
A lot of the tracks on this CD are of the same music that is on the original Obrigado Brasil studio recording, but I really like the energy of their live performance. I love playing with Yo-Yo Ma, which I have done many times since my first performance with him and the Rochester Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall in 1978. His world music collaborations have greatly inspired my own work.
Atahualpa Yupanqui is one of the all-time great singer/songwriters of Argentinean music. Yupanqui’s guitar playing is stunning, and the poetry and expression of his voice is moving, even if you don’t know Spanish. The quality that shines through is his utter sincerity. Highly recommended. This is a 2-CD set, but you would also do well with any of the smaller collections of his work.
This album of traditional Cuban son is very well done by Eliades Ochoa and his Cuarteto Patria, plus the sound quality of the recording is also excellent. I have enjoyed this CD immensely. Eliades Ochoa is a member of Buena Vista Social Club, the group of traditional Cuban musicians that were presented in the 1999 Wim Wenders film Buena Vista Social Club.
I have another CD of Totó La Momposina, which I have absolutely loved listening to every time I put it on. That album is no longer available, but this one is every bit as good. Totó is an incredible interpreter of Afro-Colombian music–what an expressive and powerful voice, and her drums are fantastic! Totó has striven to preserve the traditional styles and rhythms of her native Atlantic coast of Colombia, using the authentic instruments of the region. This is definitely a winner!
This is without a doubt the coolest and most soulful music in the world. Djivan Gasparyan is the foremost player of the Armenian duduk, a double reed instrument that sounds to me like a cross between the very best qualities of a low flute, clarinet, soprano sax and voice. Gasparyan’s renditions of his pieces with this ethereal tonal combination leaves me at the same time happy, sad and in the most meditative state. This is a beautiful album.
Tokeya Inajin, famous for his Lakota hoop dances, indigenous flute playing and traditional storytelling, has combined in this recording the sweet sounds of his Lakota flute with natural sounds recorded in the Dakota region. I have seen him perform live as well as met him personally. With him, as with many other artists I have had the pleasure to meet, the greater the personal humility and sincerity of the performer, the more powerful is the art they convey.