SELWA marks the second pairing of fusion guitarist Steve Tibbetts with Tibetan Buddhist nun Choying Drolma. Like 1997'sCHO, SELWA is a deeply atmospheric, musically adventurous journey that remains true to the spiritual underpinnings of Drolma's practice. A monk whose resonant, mellifluous vocals evoke both the solemnity and the serenity of her chants and prayers, Drolma's singing gifts strike the listener immediately. Even more striking is how perfectly Tibbetts's percussion, effects-drenched guitar work, and production flourishes suit Drolma's voice.
Tibbetts's accompaniment is supremely sensitive, supporting and echoing Drolma's phrases and inflections with a variety of suitable instrumentation. By structuring his ambient landscapes around Drolma's melodies, he allows the spiritual essence of the music to shine through. Yet the collaboration is never lopsided: Tibbett's expansive, sonically rich impressions are as crucial to the shimmering grace of this music as Drolma's devotional chants. SELWA is an organic, fully realized work of genuine beauty.