Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Straight in at No. 1 - Sorry Britney

The remarkable vocalist Sainkho Namtchylak was born in the Republic of Tuva (South Siberia, Russia) in 1957. She received her first training there as a folk singer and later studied music at the Gnesinsky Institute in Moscow where she mastered techniques of traditional Tuvan throat singing (khoomei) and Western overtone theory. In 1989, she began concertizing in collaboration with avant-garde musicians in new music and jazz venues throughout the world. Namtchylak's unique performances explore vocal techniques used in ritualistic and cult-music in Siberian Lamaism and Shamanism, Tuvan and Mongolian throat/overtone singing styles, folk, jazz, and traditional ethnic styles, and are influenced by contemporary Western improvisation, and even electronic music.

She exhibits a wide-range of vocal sounds, her live performance mixed with pre-recorded vocalizations -- emerging from the rhythmic backup of a Jew's harp are short, almost electronic sounds that have a strange unnameable pathos; these are followed with deep monkish droning, lovely gentle melodies spread over 7 octaves in their mutual discourse, reiterated percussive vocal rhythms, and a type of muted glossolalia. In the interview, she describes her process of preparing for a concert, and her aim to create an experience for the listeners that is "a little bit above any meanings, words, and structures". She speaks about the feeling of time in music in relation to the heartbeat and natural sounds, and wonderfully describes the interests of avant-garde audiences as compared to those audiences who want "an easy understanding"