Friday, March 19, 2010

CD Review: Urna's 2005 release "Amilal"


Mongolia's Urna Chahar Tugchi is a master of song and voice. Her pleasant singing is reminiscent of Tibet's Yungchen Lhamo and Namgyal Lhamo. Amilal, which means "life", is a glowing album of Middle Eastern and Central Asian sensibilities with the zarb, violin, daf, and udu comprising the instrumental repertoire. Urna's vocals are sung in Mongolian. Additionally, the liner notes include Mongolian, English, and Chinese song translations. The songs are not influenced by the electronic and modernized, Western sounds of most contemporary recordings coming out of Mongolia today. Furthermore, Amilal does not contain any throat-singing or presence of the national folk instrument, the morin huur fiddle. Amilal strikes a balance between a cascade of vocals and sparse instrumentation. At any rate, one can hear the airy expanse of the Mongolian steppes melding with the glorious voice of Urna. ~ Matthew Forss

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