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David Parsons: The Music of Islam

New Zealand ethnomusicologist David Parsons has been responsible for bringing us a number of fascinating compilations in recent years, including the deeply moving Vietnamese set a few years back. Now his home label, Celestial Harmonies, is embarking on a release schedule for his most sprawling project yet, the 15-volume series, The Music of Islam (Celestial Harmonies 13159; 78:26). It’s surprising that the subject has gotten such little coverage, considering that a fifth of the world’s population adheres to Islamic beliefs, and the religion spans a huge spectrum of the globe. A good place to start is the 78-minute sampler from the series, whose geographical span includes music from Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, Iran and Indonesia. The resulting mix is diverse, yet cohesive, a glimpse into a reality too-little exposed in the west.

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