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Sainkho Namtchylak - Naked Spirit

Sainkho Namtchylak is a tremendously cool woman. Born on the Siberian steppe, she's a Tuvan throat singer. It's a musical tradition that historically women have been pressurised to avoid. Denied a traditional route into the music she loved, she instead chose an academic one, and as a result she has added a distinctly avant-garde influence to her music.

Naked Spirit is an incredibly arresting piece of music. The title track of her 1998 album, her multicoloured voice is joined by the terrific Armenian duduk player, Djivan Gasparyan. There's actually very little overtone singing on this track, but I love the interplay of the sounds - sometimes it's hard to tell where the voice ends and the flute begins. There's just one problem: you can tell yourself that you're listening to traditional music or experimental jazz as much as you like, it won't make a difference. There's no escaping from the fact that this is new age music. Can you reconcile that with the knowledge that it's still great?

Sainkho Namtchylak - Naked Spirit
(alternate download)