by Jeff Becker
URNA Chahar-Tugchi has been rigorously performing and winning hearts and minds across the globe, but her long anticipated album is finally a lasting documentation in the evolution of a girl born to the immense grasslands of Mongolia. It is in her music that she evokes and connects the listener to stories about the Nomadic way of life. While deeply steeped in the traditional music of her homeland, URNA continues to push her artistic envelope by integrating free improvisation into her music inspired by her many years of experienced encounters with other cultures and musicians, and her life in the world. Another highlight is the addition of Kroke, a group that has performing throughout the world for over 25 years. Initially associated solely with Klezmer music, their collaboration with URNA draw inspiration that further implement the brushstroke of improvisation.
“Undur Uul (On the Summit of a High Mountain)” is swirling with Jerzy Bawoł’s accordion and the droning beat of Tomasz Lato double bass, the darkened melody is entrancing. URNA creates sweeping highs and lows with her voice, as the beauty of her instrument resonates with purity. The highest falsetto notes resonate with an angelic quality that penetrate your soul. Tomasz Kukurba colorizes the track with a delicacy, adding an affected percussive sound. Together the ensemble actuates a stirring worldly sound.
“Erdenis (My Wishes for Humanity),” has almost a classical quality to it, as URNA expounds her highest tones on this emotional song. This song is where her highest soprano notes are highlighted. Without any instrumentation to support the melody, URNA’s voice is flawless, her pitch and focus is unrivaled. Each verse is filled with impeccable variances of quality, you will immediately fall into a trance upon listening. Her highest notes ring out with immaculate quality. An experience not to be missed.
UNRA is unlike any artist you have heard in recent times; her quality of artistry is superior. The world genre is certainly all the better for her arrival. Powerfully representing her beautiful homeland of Ordos, the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, her album Ser, is a breathtaking listen on many levels. I strongly encourage you to partake of the majesty she has created. The addition of Kroke as a supporting cast is providential to the lushness of her music. But make no mistake, it is URNA’s voice that is front and center.