Magazine article New Internationalist

[Namtchylak, Sainkho. Stepmother City]

Magazine article New Internationalist

[Namtchylak, Sainkho. Stepmother City]

Article excerpt

Stepmother City by Sainkho Namtchylak

(PONDEROSA 003 CD)

[Graph Not Transcribed]

Tuvan composer and singer Sainkho Namtchylak - often hailed as an eastern equivalent of Bjork - never makes clear exactly where her personal 'stepmother city' is located. But then, listening to this extraordinary record, she doesn't have to. Haunting and mesmerizing by turn, this is an album that speaks of many things: of tradition, fusion, the shamanic power of music and, ultimately, exile. Namtchylak left Russia for the last time in 1997 after sustaining a savage and politically inspired physical attack. Her 'stepmother city' may now be Vienna, where she currently lives, but the phrase speaks volumes about the ambivalence between longing and belonging.

Namtchylak's practice has its basis in traditional Tuvan techniques - her particular emphasis is on overtone or khoomii play - but that's really only a starting point. Stepmother City utilizes an impressive and far-ranging set of influences and ideas within a context that has a specific leaning towards a - well, if not transcendental realm - certainly something beyond the mundane. …

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