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Naked Spirit

Sainkho

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Album Review

While Sainkho is a vocalist from Tuva, she does not sing solely in the distinctive throat singing that has popularized the name of that postage stamp nation, although there are sufficient examples here. Sainkho incorporates the bovine canter rhythms, as in "Badjirgal's Wish," breathy vocalizations, and Oriental, upper-register expression. Through accompanying her own samples and multi-tracking, production of Naked Spirit allows Sainkho to create an entire universe of sound with her voice. The tracks are often repeated variations on a single verse of three lines. While these stanzas bear haiku-like poetry, it is the rich arrangement and intricate harmonies that add beautiful mystery to these chant-like pieces. As such, Sainkho is the avant-garde, experimental face of the contemporary Tuvan folk scene. Her wondrously adept and entrancing vocalese places Sainkho in the regency of shrinking world vocal jazz. Clearly inspired by the whole of nature and a life outdoors (there is even a song about the Inuit), Sainkho conjures into her pieces many sonic allusions. In "Valley of Shadows," tablas recreate rainfall and she utters a flock of birds. Sainkho's unforgettable improvisations — summoning for the mind an arena of the boundless steppes — are here accompanied by mouth harps, varied ethnic percussion, and more, including master of the apricot-wood flute known as the dudu, Djivan Gasparyan, on the title track. Liner notes are in English and Italian.

Naked Spirit, Sainkho
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