by HAJI MAJI
Shawm-like instruments are found all over the place, from the well-known Turkish zourna to the obscure Khmer sralai, or the Algerian ghaita, as heard in the previous post. The double reed oboe has been an important instrument in military and festival musics around the world. It even made it’s way to the Americas. The P’urhépecha, or Tarascan as they were called by the Spanish, are a pre-Columbian culture from the Mexican state of Michoacán. Much of their music heard today is Spanish influenced string music, but these examples recorded by John Green in the early 1940s showcase an earlier traditional style. For some unknown reason, this single P’urhépecha record was included in the 4 record set of Yaqui music recorded in Arizona. This side of the record is divided into 3 tracks. The first two tracks feature the double reed chirimia, a member of the shawm family brought to Mexico in the 1600s by Spanish priests. In the third track we hear a small reed flute, which unfortunately ends somewhat abruptly.