VARIOUS ARTISTS - War Is a Wound Peace Is a Scar
LP version. The first volume in Glitterbeat's Hidden Musics, a series of unmediated field recordings of lesser-known global music traditions. War Is a Wound, Peace Is a Scar is a haunting audio document recorded in the summer of 2014 by Grammy-award winning producer Ian Brennan (Tinariwen, Malawi Mouse Boys, the Good Ones). The sepia-tinged songs are sung and played live and direct by elderly Vietnamese musicians using half-forgotten traditional instruments. These musicians all have deep, personal connections to the upheavals of the Vietnam War; the recordings' mesmerizing mood navigates the blurred line between raw beauty and sadness. An album of cautious healing and an unforgettable meditation on conflict, resistance, collective memory, and the longing for what has been lost. Brennan recalls the recording process for this remarkable document in the album's liner notes, excerpted here: "We had gone to Hanoi to record veterans from their side. Some were music masters, one of whom had joined the army at age thirteen and whose job it was to sing to the troops to boost morale and provide solace. Another was a former AK-47 issued village leader who had not sung in over forty years, and proved to be the most dead-on vocally. She did not hide or adorn, but quietly revealed muted emotions that a microphone often can detect more easily than face-to-face interaction. Then, immediately afterwards, she withdrew back into a stoic shell... with a whammy-bar technology that dates back to the ninth century, it is fair to say that Vietnamese traditions had a bit of a head start over the headbangers of the 1980s. a startling revelation was a plucked instrument (the k'ni) that is clasped between the teeth as the local dialect... is spoken through the single string. What sounds like an extraterrestrial instrumental to the uninitiated actually contains coded, poetic lyrics... Let it suffice to say that these artists are a far cry from the lip-synching karaoke show that we saw on the local cable, with groups of teenagers cavorting on a soundstage and mouthing the words to K-pop songs - air-karaoke, if you will - that managed to render something pre-fab even less real. These elders carry a haunting, but muted sadness that seems only fully revealed through the music that they valiantly keep alive in the face of industrialization, waning regard and interest, and the rapid homogenization and 'progress' overtaking their homeland."
1. For The Fallen
2. Help Us in This Life
3. Road To Home
4. The Wind Blows It Away
5. I Long To Return To My Hometown
6. Heroine Song
7. Doomed Love
8. The Rice Drum
10. Please Wait For Me
11. Taking Your Spirit to the Next World (A song in honor of the death spirit)
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