January 13, 2007

New Year, New Songs

Album Review

James: "Father of Contemporary Karen Revolution"

Karen music lovers begin the year 2007 with the unexpected premiere of a powerful musical work by James, a well-known Karen singer. The album, unconventionally titled "Father of Karen Revolution," gains a great deal of attention from young Karens currently living overseas. It received both an enormous reception from the fans and great critical reviews. In one song the rhyming lyrics calls for listeners' attention to “breaking news,” asking, "if they have heard it." "The Karen people now have a homeland. If you want it, wave your hands."

The lyrics provide a layer of stories to be told upon and vividly remind the listeners of the Karens' continued struggle for a national identity and freedom.

James shows his impressive aptitude for his chosen instruments. With ecstatic background harmony from a uniquely Pwo Karen traditional tune, the album is nothing short of superb against the backdrop of bone (Burmese drum) and lin-kwin (Burmese cymbals), which makes the collection of songs memorable.

The intense counterpoint between heavy rock and Karen traditional instrumental sound creates both metaphysical tension and musical passion. The best reason to purchase this recording is undeniably the obvious message that the album itself brings to light – contemporary situation of the Karen people and their thirst for a collective identity. It is also a unique fusion of modern and traditional instruments.

"The piercing Pwo Karen rhythm combined with the overtly touching lyrics make me burst into tears," said a young Karen student currently studying Washington , DC .

By - Saw Kapi

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