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NAMGYAL LHAMO – THE ENCHANTED LAND - SILK ROAD COMMUNICATIONS
Record Rating: ****

NAMGYAL LHAMO – THE ENCHANTED LAND Trained under the most famous music and opera masters from the old Tibet, the Netherlands-based soprano, multitalented singer and actress, Namgyal Lhamo, was one of the first Tibetan artists to make a presence on the world stage. Her 2003 album Songs From Tibet riveted audiences from world music aficionados to new age clubbers, thanks to its hypnotic, almost otherworldly uptake of Tibet’s traditional music, and earned her a reputation as the ‘Nightingale of Tibet’.

On her latest CD The Enchanted Land, Lhamo’s sweet and gentle soprano is still the main attraction, which she deploys on rhythm-free chorales of Enya-esque vocal layers to up-tempo, world-beat grooves. Mixing her voice with electronica and new age music, Indian composer Arnav Srivastava’s gentle atmospheres shine with a pastoral beauty, as he crafts a cohesive blend of global sounds and rhythms.

A nice album of clear tones on pretty good compositions, the 10 tracks are a myriad of sounds, for she’s drawn from her Tibetan heritage while influenced by European new age music, hence resulting in some interesting fusions like the operatic aria of Nangtso Yayato and the elegiac and achingly soothing Turquoise Dream.

There are a couple of slight missteps: overdubbed pop beats disrupt the string-and-vocal flow of the truly lovely Changkha, showing she’s a singer who works best in the abstract ~ unshackled by bass or rhythms ~ where her voice can soar freely. If I have to point a finger at anything, the whole program is rich but short in its actual playing time. With less than an hour of music, it ends with the listener yearning for a lot more and feeling unsatisfied in some way. Still, for those unfamiliar with the hypnotic and almost otherworldly sound of Tibetan music, The Enchanted Land provides a perfect overview.

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