Sainkho Namtchylak

Amulet: Selected Duo Recordings, 1992-1995

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Although Sainkho Namchylak is possibly the best-known Tuvan throat singer in the world, this collection of duet recordings with reedsman Ned Rothenberg is most emphatically not traditional Mongolian folk music. Rothenberg, a former Anthony Braxton collaborator who counts the shakuhachi (a Japanese wooden flute) alongside the bass clarinet and alto sax as one of his key instruments, is rooted in free improv, but more than familiar with Eastern musical forms. These 13 collaborations focus primarily on the former, however; Namchylak uses her spellbinding, must-be-heard-to-be-believed voice in a style not that dissimilar from the likes of Meredith Monk or even the great Cathy Berberian, weaving highly rhythmic lines around Rothenberg's complex melodies. Thanks to the unique sub-vocal timbres created by Tuvan throat singing, it's often impossible to tell which sounds are coming from whom. Outstanding stuff, although ethnomusicological purists might balk.

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