Thursday, October 27, 2016

H-Ural - "Дорога шамана" [2013]

Artist: H-Ural
Title: Дорога шамана
Genre: Industrial Rock, Folk-Rock
Country: Russia
Year: 2013

Track List:
  1. Миш ар
  2. Салы урнэ ойка эрыг
  3. Осхул арые
  4. Ханшан лук эвие
  5. Ай куль
  6. Дорога шамана
  7. Акем ар
  8. Шануш пох
H-Ural, formed in early 2007 in Ekaterinburg, are probably the only band to play a fusion of industrial rock and the traditional music of the eastern Ugric peoples (Khanty & Mansi). The band members also do a lot of ethnographic work, and have participated in many Uralic/Finno-Ugric culture festivals.

Their early recordings have interesting musical ideas but, unfortunately, a quite "cheap" sound (reminds me of early Nord'N'Commander, but with an "Uralic" touch). This is their second album, released in late 2013 (or, according to other sources, in early 2014), which is significantly more mature. The lyrics are mostly in Khanty, with a couple of songs in Russian. Interestingly enough, the language doesn't sound much alike its western Finnic relatives, or the Hungarian language; reminds me rather of the Tungusic languages. The music ranges from industrial/electro-rock to more traditional folk-rock inspired by the shamanic practices and ritual music of the Yugra people, with a prominent use of instruments like khomus (also known as the mouth harp). It's also influenced by the Amerindian (Sioux & Iroquois) shamanic musical traditions, which were extensively studied by one of the H-Ural's founding members, Sergey Yalunin.

Overall, the album makes for a nice listen, even if the vocal work seem to be weak at times. I'm currently listening to it while reading the works of Vladimir Napolskikh, the most competent Uralic ethnohistorian I know so far. If you liked this album and are interested in their earlier releases, all of them are freely available on the band's official site. Here's a couple of their early tracks, recorded around 2010:

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