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12 songs for 2012 No. 5 Narasirato - Totoraha

One of the things that’s great about World Music (a problematic genre description, but it’s the best we’ve got) is the wonderful variety of stuff it can throw up, and the depth that lies behind a seemingly simple description. Pan pipe group Narasirato come from the rain forests of the Solomon Islands, and have become a bit of a stalwart of the festival circuit in the last couple of years. Pan pipes always conjure images of dreadful Peruvian buskers (well parodied by this South Park Episode) or awful insipid ‘relaxation’ music (a Starbucks I was in recently was playing a pan pipe version of Greensleeves. I nearly vomited.) Narasirato couldn’t be further from that.

Sure, there are Pan Pipes, but there’s also a joyful vocal element, and the whole thing is underpinned by a thumping bass rhythm provided by drums and stomp tubes made from bamboo logs. The whole thing is intriguing, powerful, and about as different from anything you’re likely to hear in the West, yet there are curious reverberations of dance music, rocky basslines, hip-hoppy vocals, and more. Did I mention there’s 25 of them?

Check out the whole album on Spotify.