For just the second time in the Ethiopiques series, there's something fairly new, not vintage. Volume two brought material from the early part of the 1990s, but this is real modern fieldwork, the music of the Xonso people, revolving around the voice, the flute, and the lyre. They have an interesting view of music; not only is it a part of everyday life, but it is also a way to pass messages to their descendants. While the instruments are present, it's always the sound of people that's to the fore. There's singing, clapping, stomping, chanting, and myriad variations -- almost any way of making noise that's possible with the voice or body. That could seem off-putting, but in fact it's warm and oddly reassuring. The sense of pleasure the Xonso have in their music-making is palpable, communicating itself in every second of the disc. So while this is a definite departure for this series, the music more than makes up for the change of pace.