Cantaloupe Music is proud to present the debut recording of Kutman Sultanbekov and Kambar Kalendarov - master musicians of Kyrgyzstan - in JAW, a recording of new and newly arranged traditional music for the Kyrgyz jaw harp. Kutman and Kambar were the runaway hit stars of the 2008 Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at Mass MoCA and returned to the US in the summer of 2009 for an appearance (and subsequent radio broadcast) at the Bang on a Can Festival in New York. Both virtuosos of traditional Kyrgyz music and composers, this album focuses on bringing the jaw harp into the 21st century in a recording that combines the mind-blowing trance-like sound of the instrument with a surprisingly contemporary aesthetic. This is not your grandfather's jaw harp music. In fact, an album like this has never been made.
Featured tracks on JAW include Mezgil Jangyrygy, which almost sounds like The Kinks in Kyrgyzstan, with a driving groove supporting a screaming overtone melody. Many tracks feature the monster (and infectious) bass jaw harps, including Kukuk, Boz Uido and Kosh Kairyk, an all-out battle of these dueling giants. Jangylyk will bring to mind Celtic fiddling and Tengir Too is a trippy journey into Silk Road psychedelia.
The jaw harp is a tantalizingly elemental instrument - made of wood or of metal, it makes its sound by vibrating a tiny bar of metal, the sound resonating within the player's mouth. It is in the mouth of the player that the jaw harp becomes powerful and sophisticated; performers amplify the instrument's overtones by changing the shape, and therefore the resonance, of their mouths.