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Kyab Yul-Sa
Résonance d'Exil(s)/Exile Vibration

Nangma Productions
Review by David Cox

Listen "Lhamo Gour/Ama Hhay Ho"

Across the world, many peoples lack peace or freedom of cultural expression. The name of this trio, Kyab Yul-Sa means the land of exile. Certainly for Tibetans and for many others in this world exile is the reality.

Kyab Yul-Sa's independent debut production is the work of a talented trio - Tibetan exile Lobsang Chonzor (vocals, dranyen lute, gyumang dulcimer) and Europeans Margeaux Liénard (violin and buzouki) and Julien Lahaye (percussion) - who work the Tibetan sounds into a stirring melange. Chonzor's powerful and evocative voice joined by the diverse experience of two very skilled musicians makes the recipe for a gentle, but not anodyne, recording bringing together traditions and sounds from across Europe and Asia.

While at times the music is distinctly Asian, at other times it evokes Scandinavia, the British Isles, or Poland. The lutes, dulcimers, violins and lovely percussion make this a very listenable recording with some extended, meditative tracks.

While such a cross-cultural mix could have had the potential to be overly "new agey" in the hands of the wrong producer, on the contrary this disc, produced in Boulogne-sur Mer, France as a musicians' project, brings the elements together in a thoughtful and musically interesting way.

While some tracks do sound more European, it really shows the links between the two continents, rather than the differences. "Ama Hhay Ho" could be mistaken for a Warsaw Village Band song, with Liénard's opening violin, but this is a 17th century nangma (Tibetan melody) with lyrics written by a 6th Century Dalai Llama.

Listen "Da Day Dawn" (excerpt)

Originating in the Shetlands but of Scandinavian origin, "Da Day Dawn" resolves into something resembling an Irish jig. And "Brudmarsh Fran Dalby" a wedding march from Sweden, features some lovely dulcimer, violin and percussion. (See a live performance at the end of this article.)

Listen "Tcha Tchi Hi Na" (excerpt)

Sounding more East Asian, "Tcha Tchi Hi Na" is a beautiful song of exile, written and sung by Chonzor. "If I were a bird, I would fly so I could finally see my country." At eight minutes, it contains a lengthy and worthy percussion solo.

Listen "Dyamdul Nyemkyong" (excerpt)

On "Dyamdul Nyemkyong," the violin and percussion dance with Chonzor's vocal to create an evocative landscape.

Listen "Opera" (excerpt)

In closing, a seven minute "Opera" fully expresses the emotions of the exile, the desire for peace, and the eternal verities. The enjoyable, longing vocals, Liénard's violin and Lahaye's understated and creative percussion work beautifully together to close the disc.

Résonance d'Exil(s) contains twelve beautiful tracks of varying lengths, all but two traditional in origin. Listen carefully to Kyab Yul-Sa and you can contemplate the meaning of this longing for peace and freedom, and the musical language that joins cultures and peoples. - David Cox

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