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Bang on a Can meets Burma in this cross-cultural collaboration with legendary composer and percussionist Kyaw Kyaw Naing, a renowned master of the pat waing - a traditional instrument made of 21 separately tuned drums. These drums surround the player completely and are played melodically at lightning fast speeds. Kyaw Kyaw's blazing tempos and blistering musicality have made him famous throughout Southeast Asia, and he has used his gifts to become highly-sought-after as a composer of music for film and as a live performer at Burma's traditional kickboxing tournaments.
Bang on a Can and Kyaw Kyaw Naing have played together at the Bang on a Can Marathon at BAM and Lincoln Center, among other notable venues throughout 2001-2004.
Now in the US, Naing is spreading the word about Burmese music, so far largely unknown, throughout the country. After a performance at the Asia Society last season, The New York Times called his music "an exhilarating tease, defying expectations of symmetry or steady tempo." On this CD, Naing records with Western musicians for the very first time. The Bang on a Can All-Stars, with special guest Todd Reynolds (Ethel), steeped themselves in the Burmese tradition through their frequent meetings with Naing. They have performed together at the BAM Next Wave Festival, Lincoln Center's Great Performers series, and the Bang on a Can Summer Festival at Mass MoCA.
Evan Ziporyn of the Bang on a Can All-Stars remarks about the collaboration: "Kyaw Kyaw is a master of this unique and exhilarating music, and having the chance to work with him and find common ground has been a dream fulfilled. This would have been unthinkable ten years ago, and I hope it's only the beginning."