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National Geographic set to music

Voices of Forgotten Worlds
Voices of Forgotten Worlds: Traditional Music of Indigenous Peoples
By various artists

Ellipsis Arts: 1996

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This review first appeared in the December 3, 1994 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

Think of the Ellipsis Arts label as National Geographic set to music. No, the company doesn't actually have anything to do with the magazine – but any indigenous people who have been featured in National Geographic have probably been recorded by Ellipsis Arts.

The label's latest release, "Voices of Forgotten Worlds," only contains two CDs, but the accompanying book makes this package Ellipsis Arts' most satifsying yet.

While theirtwo most recent sets, "Global Meditation" and "Global Celebration," each had four CDs, they did not contain the amount of information "Voices" has in its 96-page book, which also contains the same style of visually stunning photography you find in National Geographic.

"Voices" contains music that was recorded live in the field from native peoples of Greenland, Nepal, Eritrea, Afghanistan, New Caledonia and the United States (Navajo, Northern Cree), among others.

It's not for everyone; some of the music can sound dissonant or harsh to Western ears. But for those who are curious about what folk music sounds like elsewhere, this is one of the best compilations you can find.