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Department of Music

SOASis Sounding the World

Sounding the World is a compilation of music from around the globe, assembled, performed and recorded by members and friends of the Department of Music at SOAS. Production was funded by a grant from a SOAS Governor – to whom we give our thanks – and from internal sources, not from the Research Centre, and the CD is for promotion only; it will be inserted in the forthcoming SOAS book, A Celebration of Many Voices and will be distributed at WOMAD and at other festivals. It gives, we hope, a reasonable idea of what music at SOAS is about.

There are 14 tracks (with the affiliation of performers given in brackets):

  1. Sokkan
    Kiku Day, shakuhachi (PhD student). A piece from the traditional repertoire of the Japanese monks known as komusō in the Fuke sect of Zen Buddhism. Played on a ji-nashi shakuhachi, a vertical bamboo flute with no lining to its bore (unlike modern instruments that have lacquer coatings). The title translates as ‘observing the breath’.
  2. Allah Lamina
    Kadialy Kouyate, who plays the kora and sings (he is the SOAS kora teacher) was born in Senegal into a family of griots, known as jail in Mandinka– traditional oral storytellers. He started to play the kora, a 21-stringed calabash bridge harp, at an early age. The song title means ‘to endure’.
  3. Jugalbandi
    An original composition by Anthony Malatesta (MMus student), who plays all the instruments, based on the Jugalbandi style of Indian classical music which involves two equal lead instruments or vocalists playing and singing together.
  4. Hwahwa ndichahuregera
    A traditional Zimbabwean Chimurenga song, arranged by Matimba (BA student) and performed by Harare (Marimba, hosho, vocals and keyboard: Matimba; drums: Silas Chakanyuka; guitars: Laurence Corns; bass: Jules Faife). The title means ‘I shall stop drinking beer’ and the song describes a man singing about his excessive drinking, announcing he will stop.
  5. Ketawang Subakastawa Laras Pelog Pathet Nem
    SEAmusic. Rebab: Ian Anderson; gender: Rachel Hand; kendhang/gerong: Manuel Jimenez; slenthem/gerong/gong: Larry Catungal (BA, MMus and PhD students). The Gamelan gadhon used here features the soft instruments of the Central Javanese gamelan ensemble. ‘Ketawang’ denotes the form of the piece; the tuning (laras) is the seven-tone pelog scale, and the mode (pathet) is nem. ‘Subakastawa’ means ‘royal gift’.
  6. Lin Quan (Spring in the Wood)
    Sun Zhuo, zheng (PhD student). The zheng is a Chinese half-tube long zither that typically has sixteen strings plucked with the right-hand fingernails. Spring in the Forest was composed by Ye Xiaogang in 2001, and in it the composer depicts the characteristics of water as it is transformed during its journey through a wood.
  7. Sama'i Nahawand
    Composed by Khyam Allami for S.F (Oud: Khyam Allami; violin: Kate Arnold; riqq: John Villa; BA and MMus students). The Sama'i is a traditional instrumental Arab classical or art music genre that can be played solo or in ensemble. Nahawand denotes the maqam this piece is based on, although it modulates to the Lydian mode and then to maqam Kurd.
  8. Foni Komitissa
    Voice: Nicoletta Demetriou; oud: Attab Haddad (PhD and MMus students). ‘Foni’ usually denotes a melody to which different verses can be adapted; ‘Komitissa’ indicates a region in Cyprus, and this is where this folksong originated. Although the oud is a lute associated more with the Middle East, it is used here to accompany the vocalist with a drone and improvisatory interjections.
  9. Sayrang Bulbulum, Sayrang! (Sing, My Nightingale, Sing!)
    The London Uyghur Ensemble. Vocals: Rahimä Mahmut; tämbur: Nizamidin Sametov; ghijak: Stephen Jones; dutar: Rachel Harris (lecturer in ethnomusicology, SOAS). The traditional song recorded here uses a characteristic aqsaq (limping) rhythm, and its theme is one common in Uyghur songs: the suffering of separation from the beloved.
  10. Nayaneri Tara Tumi
    Vocals: Jyoshna La Trobe (PhD student) with Sarala Estruch, Shriila Davies, Amitabha Azzopardi, Tusar Holden; guitar: Jyoshna La Trobe and Jishnu Verdier; piano: Amitabha Azzopardi; bass: Matthias Postel; recorders: Saraswatii Bagley and Indranath Garrido; percussion: Jyotirmaya Hull. An original composition in Bengali by Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, from Prabhata Samgiita, song collection number 1237: ‘You are nearer to me than the pupil of my eye, so that is why I can’t see you’.
  11. Chertmak
    Razia Sultanova, dutar (AHRC Research Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts). A traditional piece from the Ferghana Valley that in times gone by was performed for entertainment and dance at women’s gatherings, here played on the Uzbek dutar, a long-necked plucked two–stringed lute.
  12. Toli (Advice)
    Composed by Sara McGuinness (PhD student) and Jose Hendrix Ndelo, and performed by Grupo Lokito (Vocals: Jose Hendrix Ndelo and Eugene Makuta; acoustic and semi-acoustic guitars: Limousine; Balafon: Sara McGuinness; urdu drum and shakers: Oli Savil). Sung in Lingala, the lingua franca of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the song tells young people to listen to the advice of their parents, since parents have wisdom.
  13. Dobranotsh
    Performed by the SOAS/Jewish Music Institute Klezmer Ensemble.
    This tune was used to serenade guests at traditional Eastern European Jewish weddings. It was taken from the collection of tunes and writings assembled in the 1930s by Soviet Jewish ethnomusicologist Moshe Beregovski, and is here played by twelve current members and alumni under the direction of klezmer violinist Ilana Cravitz.
  14. The Promise
    Digital re-appraisal of a Monkfesh track by Paul O’Sullivan (BA student). Conga: Gary Wallace; percussion: Mandy Billingham; drums: Vernon Cowdy; bass: Liam Barnard; keyboard, percussion and vocals: Anna Wight; vocals: Papa Paul; timbales and bongo: Mike Forde; guitar & vocals: Paul O’Sullivan

Mixed and mastered by Sara McGuinness, Keith Howard and Jeremy Glasgow
Project management: Keith Howard
Developed by BA students on the 2006–2007 ‘Introduction to Sound Recording’ course