Yungchen Lhamo & Anton Batagov
Tayatha (Cantaloupe, 2013)
Musicians are constantly surprising us with new collaborations and music combinations. In this case, famed Tibetan vocalist has recorded an album with Russian contemporary classical pianist Anton Batagov. Calling the final result of this meeting world music would not be accurate. Even though the sound is fascinating, it’s a meditative collaboration that may appeal more to fans of melodic minimalism or the finer side of new age music.
The two artists met through a mutual friend, choreographer and theater director Bill T. Jones. They talked for five hours straight, deciding to try and play together. When they did, they discovered an unexpected connection.
“Our collaboration was unusual for both of us, and was a very meditative experience,” says Batagov. “I am a classically trained musician, a pianist and contemporary composer. Yungchen doesn’t use notated music, which makes her a very intuitive musician. I can’t explain how it happened, but we found different sides of the same language.”
“It wasn’t conscious,” says Lhamo. “Normally, I have my own rhythms, and I don’t really think of myself as a singer. With Anton, I thought about how my voice will go with his sound. Each thing he hit, I had to think about how to match the sound. It was very enjoyable. We decided to make an offering, and of course there are many ways to find a compromise.”
“Music is based on intuitive things,” adds Bagatov. “When Yungchen and I are both are in the same sphere of sounds, we feel at home. Intellectual understanding is just the foundation, but to build a really deep spiritual building on this foundation, you need to fly a bit.”
Tayatha is a deeply introspective and beautiful recording by two musicians who share a common spiritual belief.