Listening: Muyngarnbi - Songs from Walking with Spirits

My friend Jerry put me on to this fairly unusual cd when he came back from one of his many trips to the top end a couple of weeks back - it's a kind of fusion thing featuring "western" instrumentals with Aboriginal singing.

The blurb on the Skinnyfish music website (where you can also listen to one of the tracks) has this to say:

Producers Tom E. Lewis and Michael Hohnen have brought together the songs senior songmen in a ground breaking stylistic development, in which the songmen have relinquished their didjeridu to work with gypsy, rhumba, jazz and rock influences that provide a dynamic contemporary platform for traditional formats.

I'm not sure exactly what the relationship is but it appears to have something to do with the Walking with Spirits arts festival, which is held in June up at the Mulkgulumbu (Beswick) Falls

Looks like a pretty cool event.

As for the music, I have to say that it's some of the most intriguing stuff I've ever heard. The vocals have a kind of alien (yet familiar), primal quality that's a little hypnotic at times. Sometimes it meshes perfectly with the more familiar instrumental sounds, sometimes it completely overwhelms it - and can be hard to take in. There's a wide range of instrumental styles on the album - my knowledge of the vocal styles is a little more scant but these seem to shift from track to track as well.

Definitely a grower - but engaging right from the beginning.

If you're in Canberra, I'll play a fair few tracks on Lost Highway (2XXfm - 98.3) on Thursday night (9.30 to 11pm)