Review Summary: Beautifully foreign and intimate at the same time.2 of 3 thought this review was well written
Much popular music, frankly, has little depth. And if it does, it merely further examines the basic problems of our everyday lives, rather than turning our thoughts to things beyond ourselves. That is, I believe, part of the reason for my being drawn to music such as this. This album is so intriguingly foreign yet so intimately beautiful at the same time that I cannot help but feel that, while far beyond my comprehension, it is more meaningful to me than much of the most ‘indie’ music I listen to on a daily basis. Anyways, I digress; and besides, I doubt most of you have not already had such a musical experience. But for me, it has been long in coming.
Fly, Fly My Sadness
is the 1996 album by The Bulgarian Voices Angelite and Huun-Huur-Tu. The former is a Bulgarian women’s choir, and the latter is a Tuvan throat-singing group. While I have heard throat-singing music before, and the sounds of The Bulgarian Voices are not entirely foreign to my ears, the combination of the two is something unique. The addition of the ancient-sounding throat-singers to the perhaps more modern Bulgarian choir works extremely well. The two musical styles are integrated differently throughout the album, and this keeps it from becoming repetitive. On “Wave,” one of the three mainly vocal pieces, part of the choir sings a sustained note while others raise their voices in a sort of mix between singing and yelling that ebbs and flows, creating an extremely vivid image of waves in the open ocean. Then a single Tuvan singer joins in, singing the main melody in a clear voice. On the whole, the song is somewhat free-form rhythmically, and reminds me a bit of more involved drone music.
“Mountain Story” starts off with a lovely solo by what sounds like an accordion. Then a stringed instrument joins in, along with two Huun-Huur-Tu members, one of whom sings in high, whistling overtones, and the other in low, growl-like throat-singing. Eventually, the choir joins in and gradually builds, climaxes, and fades out, each time inducing chills. The instruments and vocals cut out, leaving the accordion to end the song. "Legend" begins with Tuvan singers once again intoning some of the deepest notes to be found in music. I cannot help but be reminded of drone doom metal, but in comparison this is far better and more musically engaging. The Bulgarian choir eventually joins in singing a melody that sounds like something that could be heard in the soundtrack to Hidalgo, or some other film set in the parched, burning regions of the Middle East.
I would love to explore each single track in detail, but that would take a while, and it is difficult for me to describe this music, as I lack both the critical and musical expertise to do so. However, I can do no more than to recommend this as a beautiful, intimate album that will no doubt leave you pondering, and perhaps even lead you to question your beliefs about music, as it did for me.