Ron Korb & Donald Quan,
Tear of the Sun
(self-produced, 1990; 2000)

Here's the story: the Sun created the Earth. It was so beautiful it moved the Sun to tears, and that tear became the Sun's daughter. She had to drink from only one magic spring, and one day a taste of some other water made her deathly ill. Friends and family worked to restore her. And a couple of exceptionally talented musicians captured the story in flute, percussion and string for Tear of the Sun.

I'm not sure which mythology "Tear of the Sun" is drawing from. This tale of the Sun's daughter, her flute-playing friend and the creation of Earth has elements of so many myths it could be from anywhere. Listening to the music, it doesn't really matter. Rarely does an instrumental so completely captured the tension and resolution of a story, the joys and fears of its characters. Ron Korb's flute paints the grander moments in dramatic colors, while the background instruments supply subtler shades of feeling and moment. The chill midway through, presumably for the princess' illness, is almost palpable. Yet even when the music grows more somber, there's an expansive, creative feel to Tear of the Sun.

This is a creation story of a sort, and creation is an expansive thing. It's also a terribly tricky thing to try to capture in any medium. Ron Korb and Donald Quan have proven themselves up to the task. Tear of the Sun is the disc to have playing while you're working on your own magnum opus, or just making dinner. There's some serious creative energy bottled in this music.

Those expecting traditional Japanese music will be disappointed. Though a Japanese influence is noticeable, especially in tracks four and five, Korb has used it create a musical style unique to himself. For those looking for a traditional approach, albums exist. For myself, I'm seeking out more of Korb's work.

[ by Sarah Meador ]
Rambles: 21 September 2002

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