URNA Chahar-Tugchi Ser Review
By: Bea Willis
URNA Chahar-Tugchi is a new name to me, but one I am elated to be introduced to. Her new album Ser is a tour de force. Joined by the Polish band Kroke, together they formulate a sound that is transcendent. Her voice is majestic and supremely gifted. Born into a family of nomadic herders in the Ordos grasslands of Inner Mongolia, URNA carries the spirit of her homeland in her music as she performs around the world. Ser focuses on free improvisation and the inclusion of cultures and musicians she has come in contact with in her travels.
“Ser” starts with a beautiful solo bass introduction from Lato. His lines and chords are full and build the track. URNA’s vocals enters, the duet then proceeds to create an introspective and hauntingly beautiful collaboration. URNA’s vocal ability is impressive. Her pitch is spot-on, the trills and embellishments of notes are clean. Her falsetto is breath taking, the range that URNA displays in this track is astonishing and would rival any classical vocalist. Her sustain and breath control is fully on display in this ballad setting, having only the accompaniment of Lato’s bass it illuminates her truest abilities. URNA’s emotional range and technical skills are matchless.
“Undur Uul” (On the Summit of a High Mountain) is a stirring composition that features swelling accordion chords, percussive viola and steady percussion. URNA’s voice carries the momentum as she sings the wide range of the melody with ease and confidence. The power of this music comes from the methodical building of tracks, each musician contributes to the flow and energy. URNA’s vocal quality also intensifies as the track builds, going from soft articulation to a more aggressive broadening of her tone and expressive colors. The band also creates breathtaking dynamics, getting softer and layering out as the track comes to and end. Leaving only URNA’s magical voice expertly singing the melody for the last melodic statement.
URNA’s songs are rooted in the beauty and majesty of the grasslands of Mongolia. Each features relatable stories about the Nomadic way of life, but it does not stop there. The addition of the band Kroke and the desire to take her music beyond traditional arrangements and compositions is achieved with Ser. If you have not had a chance to hear URNA yet, I highly encourage you to take a listen, this album is even more collective with Kroke augmenting her sound and the result is stunning. Though a new name to me, after one listen her sound and voice are cemented as a lasting impression of artistry. I now am a true fan as well. Highly Recommended.