Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Global Celebration: Dancing with the Gods

Ellipsis Arts produced a good deal of new-age material back in the Nineties, but it also issued some very fine world music recordings, including a pair of box sets called Global Meditation and Global Celebration that culled samples of amazing performances from around the globe.  These are returned to on a regular basis and are always entertaining and enjoyable.

The "Dancing with the Gods" disc from Global Celebration is typical in terms of the wide array of songs gathered.  Tunes from Africa, Brazil, the Muslim world, China, Latvia, Bolivia, India, Italy and a rousing American gospel piece are examples.  All have some religious significance to them, though being religious is certainly not a requirement to enjoy the great sounds found on the disc.

Highlights for this listener include "Dance of Kwenyii," from Africa; "The Avatamsaka Assemble" from China; Bachir Attar's "Ceremonies Against Night of the Devil"; "Pollerita" from Bolivia; The Indian "Snake Charmer Melody" excerpt; an Azerbaijani performance "Doyma Chaya"; and the Halima Chedli Ensemble's "Mohammed Rasoul Allal" excerpt.  The minor trade-off with compilations like these are the excerpted material; it would be great to hear the full versions.

The sound quality is excellent, the performances uniformly inspiring, and a portion of the original sales of the recordings were donated to the Rainforest Alliance (click here for more), which works to conserve the world's rapidly diminishing tropical rainforests.

So, yes, the new-age emphasis of much of Ellipsis Arts' output, the dated graphics on the cover, the titles of the series and individual albims aside, these compilations are chock full of some of the best music found throughout this remarkable, endangered planet.  We might do better for our world if more of us took the time to better understand the human diversity on it, including its music.

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