This is just the merest sampling of the huge amount of music available east of NATO territory... I can hardly claim that this is a comprehensive, or even representative, sample of what's available. Nonetheless, these are some of the albums which have leapt out at me over the last few years -- hopefully you will find these records as striking as I have. And keep checking this site for more reviews-- it is sure to expand over time. This is the first page covering the letter "D"...
Chen Dacan Chinese Ensemble "Classical Chinese Folk Music" (Arc Music, 2009)
(Produced by Hossam Ramzy)
Originally released in 1994, this brisk disc features propulsive, energetic renditions of several ancient, traditional Chinese folk tunes, including some of Mongolian origin, and some of the what are called "silk and bamboo" songs (with stringed instruments and flutes, respectively). Violinist Chen Dacan is the nominal head of the group, although flute virtuoso Li He is given the soloist's role, delivering ornate, sometimes strident, blasts of technically dazzling musicianship. The music is a bit unusual -- less contemplative and more forceful -- than what many may think of as Chinese classical music... Nice to widen out frames of reference, although not necessarily the kind of album you'd put on to chill out to at home. Worth checking out, though!
N. Zahiruddin Dagar & F. Wasifuddin Dagar "Dherupad" (Living Media/Music Today, 1991)
Beautiful, droning drupad music, a Vedic chanting style, here accompanied by a shimmering sitar, all coalescing into a mellow, trance-inducing sonic meditation. This disc has two ragas, each roughly a half hour long, and each dedicated to the Krishna deity. I don't know much about the religious aspects of this album, but the music is extraordinary, and quite unlike most Indian music I've heard. I'll have to try and track down more material by the Dagar brothers, and see if it's all this good...
Dalinda "Turquoise: Hossam Ramzy Presents Dalinda" (Arc Music, 2002)
Consistently pleasant and engaging, this is a tribal bellydance fan's delight. With Ramzy at the producer's helm, this disc sports tasteful stylistic modernizations (slight hints of latter-day electronic dance music, etc.) and an admirably eclectic sensibility, drawing on various pan-Saharan Bedouin traditions. The set is mostly upbeat and lively, inviting hips to sway and hands to clap, yet the album closes with a lovely pop tune, "Blue," which has a West African highlife lilt to it, and features her voice at its most delectable. Nice vocals, good music -- what more could you want?
Dastan Trio "Journey To Persia" (Arc Music, 2003)
A beautiful, relaxed, contemplative set of Persian instrumentals, mainly duets between the barbat (an ancient predecessor to the oud) and the setar, another form of early lute. There is also some light, sparing percussion -- on the whole, this is a remarkably restrained album. For anybody looking for something profoundly subtle to listen to, something entirely set apart from the clamor and clatter of the modern world, this album is a definite blessing. Recommended!
Asian & Islamic Albums: Letter "E"
Asian Music Index
World Music Index