Secret Sounds of Turkmenistan

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The sparkling city of Ashgabat

Welcome to Turkmenistan, the oddest and most mysterious of the Stans. East of the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan is a strangely modern and strangely administered nation. Hear some of the classic folks sounds (thanks dutar.com), some freaky prog jazz, hip hop, and more:

door to hell

The door to hell is inconveniently located in the middle of the Karakum Desert

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A Mystical Land // The North of Japan

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From left to right: Japanese tourist, teenage bear, Ainu couple.

The island of Hokkaido is a world of wonder and mystery. For this musical journey, we are joined by experimental multi-media artist/dancer, Sammy Chien, who recently visited Hokkaido and shares with us his experiences with the native Ainu people.

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Taiwanese artist Sammy Chien

There are fascinating and disturbing parallels between the Ainu of Japan and First Nations cultures of Canada, a history of colonization and oppression – yet both groups are reclaiming their homeland and moving forward with dignity and hope.

Behold a mix of Hokkaido music – folk, rock, hip hop and more. Kane inuma!

Sounds like 17,000 islands

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Trip to the music of Indonesia, where traditions like the otherworldly Gamelan orchestra blend with modern sounds to manifest waves you never dreamed of!

Yes there are 17,000 islands in Indonesia, and some believe that the lost city of Atlantis is hidden somewhere beneath the Indonesian sea. What a fun idea! Did they play Gamelan? Did they have electric guitars? Maybe this band would have been tops of the Atlantean pops:

From the first hour, a world of new music:

The Sound of Dragon across Time and Space

SoDE

If you are curious about blending two very distinct musical worlds, there has probably never been a better place and time than Vancouver and Now. As the city hosts large populations with European and Asian heritage, it seems inevitable that these cultures should mix and create something new and distinctly Canadian. As someone who has lived in the city for nearly 18 years, a city known for its openness and spirit of innovation, it surprises me how little musical cross-pollination seems to be happening. Enter the Sound of Dragon.

Armanini Lan National Concert Hall Taipei 2011

Mark Armanini and Lan Tung in Taipei

With one foot in the folk traditions of China and the other in the wild improvisational aesthetic of jazz, the Sound of Dragon Ensemble is blazing a brave new standard for what Canadian music can be. The first hour of this week’s program presents an intriguing conversation with SODE composers Lan Tun, John Oliver, and Mark Armanini, longtime residents of Vancouver and scholars of sonic alchemy. Catch their spring concert this thursday!