Real World 25
December's Music of the Month CD:
Himmerland
Global Routes Through Denmark

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Himmerland

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Various Artists
From Another World: A Tribute to Bob Dylan
Buda Musique (www.budamusique.com)

We've all heard countless versions of Bob Dylan's songs, from Hendrix doing "All Along the Watchtower" to yet another local folksinger warbling "Blowin' in the Wind." But I'm betting you never heard anything like this.

Thirteen acts from around the world - Iran, Rumania, Bhutan, India, Algeria, Egypt, and more - all do their very best Dylan, on native instruments, in their own languages, and at best, radically reimagining the songs. It's a trip, in a lot of good ways.

Producer Alain Weber chose musicians he felt were like Dylan in some way. Some were familiar with his music, others weren't. But Weber translated all the songs into the musician's native language, stating, rightly, "It was vital that they could identify with the words, to feel the images and meaning."

Dylan's meanings even shine through on two Asian-set instrumental versions of "I Want You." The first is played on traditional flutes and cymbals by the Burma Orchestra Saing Waing and the second time it is plucked on the Zheng cithara, which is similar to the Japanese koto, by the Trio Mei Li De Dao from Taiwan.


The album ends with two of the most complete revisions: "Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35" done by Kocani Orkestar from Macedonia, with blaring horns and a polka-ish arrangement, and "Father of Night" by Aboriginal People Yolingu of Yalakun, from Australia, featuring chanting vocals and didgeridoo. Of the latter, Weber says, "It's hard to hear Dylan's song in there, but it is. It's how they heard it."


And finally, "Blowin' in the Wind" is here in a lickety-split, popping, scat-singing, Gypsy version by Ken Lang from Hungary, backed by a batch of jubilant singers. - Jeffery R. Lindholm

CD available from cdRoots

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