Meditation and trance music have usually been connected to religion in the traditional cultures of the world. Its main aim has been to let one separate from the everyday world, recognize one's true nature, calm down and get closer to God or move to a different state of consciousness. This is especially the Eastern approach where music culture was very advanced but can be also observed among more primitive cultures. This music has taken very different forms in the world: from the simple but mysterious sounds of Australian didgeridoo, through overtone chants of Tibetan monks, beautifully ascetic sounds of the shakuhachi flute typical of ZEN to highly developed musical forms from India.
In many cases the meditative effect was achieved by using specific instruments whose sounds fitted perfectly. One may mention, for example, ney (reed end-blown flute used in the Middle East and Northern Africa, an inseparable attribute of a Turkish dervish), mizmar and duduk (Egyptian and Armenian oboe of a trance sound; the player, similarly as in case of Australian didgeridoo, uses the so called circular breathing where you mechanically push out the breath from your mouth with the use of cheeks and simultaneously breathe in shortly with your nose, which results in an unbroken sound) or the whole family of string instruments from the Indian peninsula like sitar, swarmandala or tampura, which guarantee a kind of characteristic buzzing bourdon, for example, by using a huge number of sympathetic strings. All these instruments and sounds, their uniqueness and exoticism, have for a long time inspired modern artists, both those originating from the cultures in question and those brought up in completely different traditions.
These two records contain tracks chosen by Jola and Mirek — with a little help of their friends — which present the work of modern artists inspired by traditional music of the world, largely by traditions connected directly with trance and meditation. Some reach very deep like, for example, Sainkho Namtchylak, a singer from Tuva (a small autonomous republic in Syberia, on the border between Russia and Mongolia) who creating mostly avant-garde music and jazz introduces folk elements; or Azzdine Ouhnine, a Maroccan musician born blind, who combines Subsaharan music with modern sounds and whose work delighted Bill Laswell so much that he recorded the bass line for his record Massafat. Some musicians treat the folk tradition only as a starting point for their art like, for example, Ricky Kej, a dentist, sound engineer and musician specializing in lounge music who invites many renowned Indian masters of classical Hindustani and Carnatic music. Also Nitin Sawhney, aHindu living in Great Britain, and Selim Demirdelen from Turkey work similarly. Others try to create music which would be a sort of dialogue of cultures, like a French group Ekova, whose members come from Iran, Algeria and the US, or a joint project of Bulgarian choir Angelite and Huun-Huur-Tu group from Tuva where two distinct traditions combine, creating a un-ity full of mysticism. Thanks to such artists folk music gains new dimension and becomes attractive to the modern receiver; in many cases it stimulates a search for and recognition of both one's own and very distant traditions.
Piotr Pucyło