Urna / Amilal
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cd cover Urna
Trees Music & Art (www.treesmusic.com)

It's funny sometimes how people from very different traditions can approach music using the same basic concepts. Mongolian siner Urna is a case in point; her recording is full of clear vocals, unusual instrumentation and a feeling of odd balance through dissonant yet harmonic sounds, in a combination that has echoes in the work of many female avant-garde singers like Savvina Yannatou.

This recording is called Life and there is nothing closer to life itself than these songs about the basic things in it: home, nature, joy, love, friendship, kinship, peace, peace of mind, memories, serenity and our fellow beings. The three musicians who accompany her (Djamchid Chemirani on zarb, Keyvan Chemirani on zarb, daf and udu and Zoltan Lantos on violin) offer a multicultural twist, with interesting counterpoints and augmentations contributing as much to the success of this recording as Urna's amazing voice.

This is music of great opposites, where complexity and a progressive spirit meet simplicity and back-to-the-basics. Urna's voice has a simple, regal beauty and inner peace. The three musicians create a background on which her voice glides and with which it interacts, with references to the Indian classical tradition or the music of the qawwali, jazz experimentation and at the closing piece, pure Hungarian violin ecstasy. It is all due to the multicultural composition of this unlikely but successful musical partnership.

The booklet and the translations are excellent - informative, interesting, beautiful and helpful. Make no mistake, this is no easy listen. It demands your attention and at times it seems more analytical than expressive but it is certainly one of the unlikeliest things you will come across this year and it will reward you many times over for your patience and interest. - Nondas Kitsos

CD available from cdRoots

Further reading:
Stelios Petrakis, Efren Lopez, Bijan Chemirani: Mavra Froudia
Kevin Seddiki & Bijan Chemirani: Imaginarium
Trio Chemirani: Invite
Henri Agnel, et al - Istanpitta: Danses Florentines du Trecento
Bijan Chemirani with Ross Daly - Gulistan

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