Review | Songlines

Nayan Navaa

Top of the World

Rating: ★★★★

View album and artist details

Album and Artist Details




ARC Music


Nayan Navaa is Namgar Lhasaranova’s fourth release since she formed the band under her name in 2001. Namgar is a Buryat Mongol who possesses a dynamically powerful voice steeped in the tradition she learned from her family in the borderlands of Mongolia, Russia and China. ‘Boori Deeguur Yabakhadaa’ (Hunter’s Song) opens the album. This traditional song begins with a cinematic droning atmosphere, samples and Namgar’s reverb-laden voice. It develops into a rock song where traditional instruments, the Mongolian yatga (plucked zither) and four-string fretted chanza compete with electric bass, guitar and drums. Many of the melodies heard on Nayan Navaa were discovered in 2019 by Namgar and her husband Evgeny Zolotarev in archives throughout Russia. ‘Khadin Khursa Nogoondoo’ (Green Grass) starts with a 1950s archive recording sympathetically accompanied on the chanza and like most of the release is segued into a rock version of the song.

One of the many highlights throughout the album is when Namgar’s amazing powerful voice soars in a Mongolian long song style on ‘Urda Uula’ (South Mountain). Another is the touching duet with her father on ‘Zakhyaa Duun’ (Father’s Song). This is a great release that balances the old and new with well crafted arrangements and high productions values, giving Sainkho Namtchylak and The Hu a run for their money.

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