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Michael Blake - Kingdom of Champa

By Michael Blake

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Composed by Michael Blake. Recording mediums. CD. Duration 46' 14''. MDS (Music Distribution Services) #INT 31892. Published by MDS (Music Distribution Services) (M7.INT-31892).

Item Number: M7.INT-31892

The ''Kingdom of Champa'' was a rich nation in ancient south east Asia, almost entirely forgotten today. All that remained of the Cham culture are a few sightseeable ruins on the territory of nowadays' Vietnam (close to Da-Nang und Phan Thiet) after years and years of armed conflict in that part of the world; the Cham people are a minority in vietnamese society today, counting less than 100.000. It's that history-laden country, it's past and present, which inspired saxophonist and composer Michael Blake's debut album. ''Kingdom of Champa'' is based on experiences he made while travelling and living in Vietnam; the emotions engendered by that journey (visiting the familiy of his vietnamese wife), the sights and sounds of Vietnam, as well as the music of his own life in the United States, all blend together on ''Kingdom of Champa'' to create an exciting compositional hybrid. ''Vietnam is a mystical and strange place'', writes Blake in the album's liner notes, ''After centuries of rule by Chinese, French, and Americans, the Vietnamese have become an independent nation and the people have begun to rebuild their lives. The spirit, beauty and hardship of these people would be the foundation for a suite of music I call Champa. To a certain extent this documentation of my experience living with my wife and her family in Vietnam is a metaphor of a journey into the self. In this place I encountered an infinite sadness that forced me to reevaluate many ideals I had established and conditionally accepted. It also brought great joy to me and an opportunity to realize my potential. My mind and soul were awakened by the extremes of the culture, no matter how I resisted to adapt to it.'' Thus, ''Kingdom of Champa'' is not only a striking debut by excellent musician but a moving, personal statement as well.

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