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Primitive Music of the World

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Review

Not so long ago scholars used the word "primitive" to describe all music from the non-Western world. They viewed it as rudimentary, simple, and backward. From their ivory tower perspectives, it was Western classical music that represented the apex of musical evolution. When composer Henry Cowell compiled Primitive Music of the World for Folkways in 1962, he was operating under this kind of musical prejudice. Despite his anachronistic slant, Henry Cowell's stellar selections for the album betray his great appreciation for non-Western music. Primitive Music of the World starts off with "Murut Music of North Borneo." Sounding somewhat similar to Native North American music, it consists of an all-male chorus chanting in unison around a single tone. Percussive sounds are produced as the chorus dances on a flexing floor. Other extraordinary tracks on the album include Pygmies singing a complex contrapuntal elephant-hunting song, Australian Aborigines singing with didgeridoo and clapstick accompaniment, Navajo Night Chanters alternating between relaxed and falsetto vocal tones, and East Indian Trinidadians playing music that draws upon both Hindustani and West African traditions. The only thing primitive about this album is Cowell's use of the word. It's an outdated term that now refers to a long forgotten worldview. Though put together by Cowell long ago, the album is hardly antiquated or dull: it is vibrant, creative, and sophisticated. And it's still available from Folkways, as is everything in their vast catalog. ~ John Vallier
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Murut Music of North Borneo Henry Cowell null:null
  3. 2 Music of New Guinea Henry Cowell null:null
  4. 3 Music of New Guinea Henry Cowell null:null
  5. 4 Music of Malagasy - Drumming for a Ceremony/Singing for Dancing Henry Cowell null:null
  6. 5 Music of Malagasy - Drumming for Dancing Henry Cowell null:null
  7. 6 Music of Panama - Flute Music Henry Cowell null:null
  8. 7 Music of Panama - Flute Music Henry Cowell null:null
  9. 8 Pygmies of the Ituri Forest - Elephant Hunting Song Henry Cowell null:null
  10. 9 Music of Australia - Cloud Chant Henry Cowell null:null
  11. 10 Music of North Japan - Hero Narrative Poem Henry Cowell null:null
  12. 11 Music of North Japan - Narrative Poem Henry Cowell null:null
  13. 12 Music of North Japan - Ceremonial Drinking Song With Voices Henry Cowell null:null
  14. 13 Music of Malagasy - Ceremonial Song Henry Cowell null:null
  15. 14 Angutnak, Matee Music of the Eskimos - Girl's Game Henry Cowell null:null
  16. 15 Music from Malaya - Alus (Spirit of the Tiger): Temiar Dream Songs Henry Cowell null:null
  17. 16 Music from Malaya - Nose Flute Melody: Temiar Dream Songs Henry Cowell null:null
  18. 17 Music of the Navajo Indians - Night Chant: Yeibichai Henry Cowell null:null
  19. 18 Music of the Navajo Indians - The Enemy Way Dance Henry Cowell null:null
  20. 19 Music of the Black Caribs of Honduras - Ahorohani: Work Song Henry Cowell null:null
  21. 20 Songs of Assam - Abor Song No. 3 Henry Cowell null:null
  22. 21 Lappish Joik Songs from Northern Norway - Song About a Man/Song ... Henry Cowell null:null
  23. 22 Music of the Magindanao in the Philippines - Man Singing a Love Song Henry Cowell null:null
  24. 23 Music of the Magindanao in the Philippines - Flute Solo/Drum Music Henry Cowell null:null
  25. 24 Folk Music of the Western Congo - Signal Drumming/Bapende ... Henry Cowell null:null
  26. 25 Folk Music of the Western Congo - Sansa and Chorus/Xylophone Played by Henry Cowell null:null
  27. 26 East Indian Music in Trinidad - Religious Music Henry Cowell null:null
  28. 27 Music of Turkmen - Male Solo Henry Cowell null:null
  29. 28 Music of Turkmen - Flute Solo Henry Cowell null:null
  30. 29 Music of Turkmen - Male Solo Henry Cowell null:null
  31. 30 Music of Ceylon - Vedda Ceremonial Song Henry Cowell null:null
  32. 31 Music of Angola - Festivity Henry Cowell null:null
  33. 32 Music of Panama - Male Solo Henry Cowell null:null
  34. 33 Music of the Andes - Boru Flute Solo Henry Cowell null:null
  35. 34 Music of New Zealand - Haka of Wairangi: Maori Song With Chorus Henry Cowell null:null

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