Sainkho Namtchylak (Tuva )
More than a generation has passed since the astounding singer Sainkho Namtchylak emerged from her homeland in Tuva, deep in Soviet Siberia, by the Mongolian border. She moved to Moscow, where her startling vocal gifts were recognized and featured internationally in the USSR's minority 'showcase' ensembles. Then on to Western Europe, where she became a phenomenon of creative improvised music and part of the genesis of the contemporary World Music scene. She put together various ensembles with young musicians, creating acclaimed productions, including the International music hits "Stepmother City" and "Time Out" . Now, with her new group, SainkhoKosmos, she has surrounded herself with musicians of long worldwide experience, each of whom has also made a personal journey to achieve a unique musical voice. They will work together to project ancient pulsing sounds into a modern framework, creating a freely floating musical landscape, both rooted and spontaneous. The group includes reed virtuoso Ned Rothenberg, Sainkho's partner in duo for over 25 years, and 2 of Ned's longtime collaborators, drummer/vocalist Samm Bennett, guitarist Kazuhisa Uchihashi, who also plays the incredible daxophone, along with bassist Peter Scherr. All have wide experience both in creating songs and improvising spontaneously. Cafe Oto will host the first assembly of this ensemble of infinite possibility.
Kazuhisa Uchihashi (Japan)
Kazuhisa Uchihashi is a guitarist, composer and music producer. Born in Osaka, Japan in 1959, Uchihashi plays a huge variety of music, having a distinctive musical voice in rock, jazz and improvised music. He composes widely for film, drama and dance, including 30 years of work with the Japanese theatre group Ishina. He has worked worldwide with musicians including Fred Frith, Zeena Parkins, Han Bennink, Shelley Hirsch and Christian Marclay. He is co-founder of the legendary Japanese power trio Altered States, active for over 25 years, which also worked inside Otomo Yoshihide's Ground Zero in the 1990s. In recent years, he has focused on pan-asian identity in music. Since 2010 he's traveled to Indonesia, Thailand and China to create special collaborative projects with local musicians. His special instrument, the daxophone, is a creation of the late guitarist/inventor, Hans Reichel, who was a creative partner of Uchihashi. (Pressetext)
Artist Biography by Chris Nickson
Out of Tuva With her shaved head and seven-octave range, Sainkho Namtchylak would stand out on any stage. Add her particular mix of Tuvan throat-singing and avant-garde improvisation, and she becomes an unforgettable figure. The daughter of a pair of schoolteachers, she grew up in an isolated village on the Tuvan/Mongolian border, exposed to the local overtone singing -- something that was generally reserved for the males; in fact, females were actively discouraged from learning it (even now, the best-known practitioners remain male, artists like Huun-Huur-Tu and Yat-Kha). However, she learned much of her traditional repertoire from her grandmother, and went on to study music at the local college, but she was denied professional qualifications. Quietly she studied the overtone singing, as well as the shamanic traditions of the region, before leaving for study further in Moscow (Tuva was, at that time, part of the U.S.S.R.). Her degree completed, she returned to Tuva where she became a member of Sayani, the Tuvan state folk ensemble, before abandoning it to return to Moscow and joining the experimental Tri-O, where her vocal talents and sense of melodic and harmonic adventure could wander freely. That first brought her to the West in 1990, although her first recorded exposure came with the Crammed Discs compilation Out of Tuva. Once Communism had collapsed, she moved to Vienna, making it her base, although she traveled widely, working in any number of shifting groups and recording a number of discs that revolved around free improvisation -- not unlike Yoko Ono -- as well as performing around the globe. It was definitely fringe music, although Namtchylak established herself very firmly as a fixture on that fringe. In 1997 she was the victim of an attack that left her in a coma for several weeks. Initially she thought it was some divine retribution for her creative hubris, and seemed to step back when she recorded 1998's Naked Spirit, which had new age leanings. However, by 2000 she seemed to have overcome that block, releasing Stepmother City, her most accessible work to date, where she seemed to really find her stride, mixing traditional Tuvan instruments and singing with turntables and effects, placing her in a creative firmament between Yoko and Björk, but with the je ne sais quoi of Mongolia as part of the bargain. A showcase at the WOMEX Festival in Berlin brought her to the attention of many, and in 2001 a U.S. tour was planned.