Album: Marta Sebestyen, I Can See the Gates of Heaven (World Village)

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The Independent Culture

On this lovely, seasonal album, the voice behind The English Patient gives us a rare piece of musical archaeology.

Accompanied by two outstanding musicians on wind and strings, she sings a series of songs, laments and hymns that can still be heard in remote parts of the Carpathian mountains. The often flattened intervals take us right out of our Western European aural comfort zone; her timbre has a timeless quality, sometimes skittish, sometimes grave, but always seeming to come straight out of the earth.