Manhu: Voices of the Sani

The Sani people are part of China’s ethnic landscape but the fine detail of their culture is often obscured behind mythology and rock. The rock is from the Stone Forest: Sani villages dot the area around the spectacular limestone pillars, densely clustered like trees across 500 km² (200 mi²) of Yunnan province. The myth surrounds Ashima, a folk heroine who escapes a forced marriage, only to drown and turn into the forest’s most prominent monolith … More Manhu: Voices of the Sani

Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn

“Pity the nation,” wrote Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “that knows no language but its own.” Far more satisfying than pity is listening to Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn, who know one another’s languages and express their familiarity in profoundly local and transcendently global music. Wu is a Beijing-born composer, singer and master of the 21-string guzheng; Washburn an Illinois-born, Grammy winning singer-songwriter and clawhammer banjo … More Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn

Urna and Kroke: Ser

The grasslands of China’s Inner Mongolia region are far from any ocean, but Urna Chahar-Tugchi observes that her home turf is often called the “Sea of Songs”—a fitting metaphor for a rich musical culture and for Urna’s awe-inspiring voice, rising like a wave and sailing across a soundscape seemingly as expansive as her childhood horizon. She grew up in a family of herders … More Urna and Kroke: Ser

Anda Union: Homeland

In the dim light of a New York night club, a cavernous church in Oxford or in any secluded corner of the globe, the musicians of Anda Union recreate the open skies of the Central Asian grasslands. Through traditional vocals, overtone (throat) singing and Mongolian long song, playing horsehead fiddles, lutes, flutes and drums, they tell stories of herds and heroes, of lands and families. The driving forces of their music are nostalgia and a passion … More Anda Union: Homeland