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January/February 1999

Yungchen Lhamo
Coming Home
Real World

On the heels of Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo's well-received debut album Tibet, Tibet last year, she again meets up with westerners on Coming Home (Realworld 7243 8 45783; 52:10), mixing in with feedback-y electric guitar washes, drum kits, and electronic textures, to mostly evocative effect. Lhamo, who expatriated from her oppressive homeland nine years ago, has become perhaps the best-known Tibetan vocalist in the west, thanks to the advocacy of rock figures, and appearances at the Tibet House Benefit at Carnegie Hall and in the Lilith Fair. Of course, all this elbow-rubbing with those in the west leaves its mark on her music, here produced by Hector Zazou.

However ethereal and successfully cross-cultural the end product, the album is clearly a studio artifact. The project's best moments have to do with her voice, plaintive and glorious, as with the thickly layered vocal matrix of "Ngak Pai Metog" and the melancholic enigma of her swooping lines in "Dream."

Originally published in January/February 1999
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