Chechen Music

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COMPOSERS: Chechen Folk Music
LABELS: Melodiya
WORKS: Anthology of folk music: Song of the Falcon; Remembrances of a Girl; Dance from Beni-Yurt; Beautiful girl etc
PERFORMER: Various musicians


Every track on this CD is treasurable, given the Chechens’ current plight, and how dangerous the country now is for outsiders to visit. This music was recorded in the 1970s as an exotic adjunct to what was then a favourite Soviet holiday destination, and all Chechnya’s traditional styles and forms are represented.

The heroic-epic genre is here, delivered in high male voices radiating vibrant warmth and self-accompanied on the lute; the dances, driven along by pipe, accordion, and drum, are full of exhilaration.


The women’s trios have a haunting beauty, based as they always are on a sad minor triad grounded by a drone; they sing about war, family loyalty, and above all their native land. Making my own Chechen CD four years ago, I found exactly the same music, though most Chechen musicians have now emigrated to Russia or Georgia for safety. Michael Church