Yasuhiro Morinaga

Exploring Gongs Culture In Southeast Asia, Mainland And Archipelago

Sub Rosa • 2022

Yasuhiro Morinaga is an avid field recordist of regional musical traditions, which he makes available digitally through his label the-concrete in the form of meticulously curated compilations. »Exploring Gong Culture In Southeast Asia. Mainland and Archipelago« then is exactly what it says on the tin: the two CDs comprise 35 recordings of very different pieces played on a variety of gong instruments as they are being used by various ethnic groups in Southeast Asia. Morinaga has documented sometimes extremely disparate musics in Vietnam and Cambodia, on the Philippines and on various Indonesian islands with slightly varying sound quality and, through his personal liner notes and many photographs in the extensive booklet, puts them into their regional, socio-cultural and (music-)historical contexts. Quite a few of the pieces are ritualised music that, for example, are performed during harvest time, and yet the stylistic, tonal and rhythmic differences between these practices, sometimes carried out only a few hundred kilometres apart in perfect synchronisation with each other, are immense. »Exploring Gong Culture In Southeast Asia. Mainland and Archipelago« is a comparative ethnographic study in its own right thanks to its sheer scale alone, and yet only part of a much larger project to which Morinaga has dedicated his life.