Mountains of Tongues | Constellation | International | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.

Mountains of Tongues 

When: Sat., Nov. 30, 9:30 p.m. 2013
Price: $10
Earlier this year Albuquerque duo A Hawk and a Hacksaw came to Constellation to perform their own compositions as accompaniment to the classic Soviet-era Sergei Paradjanov film Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. Heather Trost and Jeremy Barnes had previously immersed themselves in the music of Romania and Hungary, but for the Paradjanov project they also wrote some songs reflecting their growing interest in folk traditions arising further east. The newest album on the couple’s L.M. Dupli-Cation label, Mountains of Tongues: Musical Dialects of the Caucasus, collects field recordings made between September 2012 and July 2013 by Ben Wheeler and Stefan Williamson-Fa in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, but the soulful vitality of the material transcends its dry ethnographic trappings. The vibrant, vital folk music in this collection is dominated by bowed and strummed string instruments—some of which, such as the Tushetian chianuri, are exceedingly rare. It’s also sung in a variety of sometimes obscure languages, including Lezgi, Batsbi, and others in danger of dying out. Wheeler runs the Tsibili-based Sayat Nova Project, which attempts to document the region’s rich cultural variety, and at this event he’ll discuss music from the Caucasus, screen videos of the recording sessions for Mountains of Tongues, and demonstrate several native instruments. Chicago vocal group Ensemble Alioni will also perform, providing an in-the-flesh example of the traditional Georgian polyphonic singing captured on one of the album’s tracks. —Peter Margasak

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