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about

In 2011, we presented the debut recording of Kutman Sultanbekov and Kambar Kalendarov - master musicians of Kyrgyzstan - in JAW, a recording of new and freshly arranged traditional music for the Kyrgyz jaw harp. Kutman and Kambar were hit stars of the 2008 Bang on a Can Summer Festival at MASS MoCA and returned to the US in the summer of 2009 for an appearance (and subsequent radio broadcast) at the Bang on a Can Marathon in New York. As composers as well as virtuosos of Kyrgyz music, this album focuses on bringing the jaw harp into the 21st century in a recording that combines the trance-like sound of the instrument with a surprisingly contemporary aesthetic. This is not your granddad's jaw harp music.

Featured tracks on JAW include Mezgil Jangyrygy, with a driving groove supporting a screaming overtone melody. Many tracks feature the infectious, monstrous bass jaw harps (essentially dubstep with your tongue), including Kukuk, Boz Uido and Kosh Kairyk, an all-out battle of these dueling giants. Jangylyk will bring to mind Celtic fiddling and Tengir Too is a trippy journey into Silk Road psychedelia.

The jaw harp is a tantalizingly elemental instrument - made of wood or of metal, it makes its sound by vibrating a tiny bar of metal, the sound resonating within the player's mouth. It is in the mouth of the player that the jaw harp becomes powerful and sophisticated; performers amplify the instrument's overtones by changing the shape, and therefore the resonance, of their mouths.

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released March 4, 2011

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Cantaloupe Music Brooklyn, New York

Cantaloupe Music is the record label created by the three founders of New York's legendary Bang on a Can organization—composers Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe—with Bang on a Can managing director Kenny Savelson. Cantaloupe Music has made a massive impact in the contemporary music community, and has been recognized by critics and fans worldwide for its edgy and adventurous sounds. ... more

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