144

Ch: Selwa

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Ch: Selwa Like Chö, the first collaboration between Chöying Drolma and Steve Tibbetts (in 1997), Selwa honors the sacred music of North and South Asia and delivers a profound example of the modern music world as a global village. It showcases recordings of Buddhist nun Chöying Drolma made by percussionist Marc Anderson and guitarist Steve Tibbetts, both from Minnesota, at a Tibetan Buddhist enclave in the Himalayan country of Nepal. Anderson and Tibbetts returned to Minnesota to huddle with Lee Townsend, producer for such star guitarists as Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Charlie Hunter, John Abercrombie, and the guitar ensemble T.J. Kirk. The three then wove enchanted percussion and guitar instrumentation around Drolma's chanted prayers and supplications.

Townsend's help proves no small touch. His multi-tracking the vocals in "Song of Realization" makes them seem to intertwine, to strive onward and upward like mythical vines growing toward the sun. Resonant echo on her voice makes "Yumchen Tukar" feel even more reverent.

Selwa is ethereal, evocative, and breathtakingly beautiful. Tibbetts and Anderson seem to intuitively understand how to accompany Drolma's voice, building in "Paiden Rangjung," for example, a mountain of percussion and guitar from which Drolma's vocal steps right off the crest into pure nothing.

The spacious instrumental introduction to "Mandala Offering," where guitar waterfalls splash against thumping percussion and shimmering cymbals—appearing, disappearing, then reappearing—is beautiful and inscrutable, pastoral Pat Metheny taken to the abstract. Tibbetts and Anderson also somehow intuit the ebbs and flows of the centerpiece "Song of Realization." Drolma completely dissolves herself in this hymn to the point where you cannot distinguish between singer and song.

"Vakritunda" is the most rhythmically active piece, with Drolma's phrasing sometimes suggesting a Middle Eastern dervish and Tibbetts moaning the blues—perhaps in different tones, but with the familiar spirit of blue heartache. Drolma's voice soars and floats through "Chenrezi" and "Chendren" as the very picture of a white dove in a pure blue sky, and there's no more fitting way to end this set than the unaccompanied vocal "Je Loma"—alone with that voice in the hallowed chapel of her soul.

Listening to Selwa always makes me feel so quiet and still. And very, very small.


Track Listing: Padmakara; Palden Rangjung; Vakritunda; Kyamdro Semkye; Gayatri; Song of Realization; Yumchen Tukar; Mandala Offering; Chenrezi; Chendren; Je Lama

Personnel: Ch

Year Released: 2005 | Style: Vocal


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Andando el Tiempo" CD/LP/Track Review Andando el Tiempo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 26, 2016
Read "Natural Perception" CD/LP/Track Review Natural Perception
by Edward Blanco
Published: September 5, 2016
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "More Serious Business" CD/LP/Track Review More Serious Business
by Jeff Winbush
Published: March 6, 2016
Read "The Declaration of Musical Independence" CD/LP/Track Review The Declaration of Musical Independence
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Ullr" CD/LP/Track Review Ullr
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 8, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!