One to watch: Hatis Noit

With her ethereal crossover of mystical and modern, this Japanese artist has been moving audiences to tears

The word “spellbinding” has been liberally daubed over everything from reviews of the musical Wicked to every album Bon Iver has ever released (and don’t get us started on “achingly beautiful”). But if you take it to mean the kind of alchemy that stops you in your tracks and leaves you slack-jawed, Hatis Noit may seem magical.

Live, she closes her eyes and loops her voice, like Meredith Monk, Matias Aguayo and Björk, layering drones and trills as if she’s a one-woman choir trying to tap into some primeval, mystical energy (she decided to become a singer after hearing a female Buddhist monk chanting at a temple). Her songs include Inori, a prayer for those who didn’t survive the 2011 tsunami; others pair Gregorian chants with gagaku, imperial court music from ancient Japan. A sell-out performance with the London Contemporary Orchestra in December is said to have moved the audience to tears.

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