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Music of Southeast Asia is best heard as an introductory sampler to the music of Burma, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. On "Burma: Shan Song," San Toke's gentle pentatonic singing weaves through percussion and aereophone accompaniment. With "Malaya: Chinchem (Temiar Dream Song)," the Temiar people sing and play drums and gongs in an effort to induce trance. Western and traditional Thai instruments are combined on "Admiration of a Sleeping Maiden." Composed by Yakob, this early world music fusion features suggestive lyrics about the fondling of a maiden's lotus flowers. All in all, Music of Southeast Asia is a fascinating introduction to the complex and variegated realm of musical cultures found in this area of the world. And Henry Cowell's liner notes help to contextualize this heterogeneity.
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