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Subject: alt.culture.tuva FAQ Version 1.49 [Part 2 of 2]
This article was archived around: 28 Sep 2001 13:27:22 GMT
Anyone wishing to take a shot at improving this should go ahead and send
the edited section along to me <faq@FOTuva.org>. Thanks to Bernard
Greenberg [BSG] for his numerous additions and edits and to Bernard Dubriel
[BD], Alan Shrives [AS], Kevin Williams [KW], Albert Kuvezin [AK], Dr
Oliver Corff [OC], Mike Vande Bunt [MVB], Ralph Leighton [RL], Masahiko
Todoriki, Alan Leighton, Ken Simon, and Sami Jansson.
Alt.culture.tuva FAQ Version 1.49,
Part 2 of 2 (October 15, 2001)
Table of Contents - Part 1:
1: How can I get a copy of this Frequently Asked Questions list?
2. Are there any WWW sites for Tuva?
3: What is Tuva?
4: What is all the fuss about?
5: How can I contact X in Tuva?
6: What's this about two voices from one singer?
7: Where can I find out more? (Friends of Tuva)
8: Are there any video tapes about Tuva?
9: Does anyone still collect the old Tuvan stamps?
10: What can you tell me about travel to Tuva?
11: How can I learn to sing khoomei?
12: How did the "Tannu" get into "Tannu Tuva"?
Table of Contents - Part 2:
13: Any recommended reading about Tuva?
14: Any recommended reading about Feynman?
15: Are audio recordings available?
Questions and Answers:
13: Any recommended reading about Tuva?
A: Send your suggestions. Here's what I've found.
1 - Tuva or Bust! Ralph Leighton. W.W. Norton, 1991.
The canonical work. Describes Feynman and Leighton's
decade-long struggle to reach Tuva. Semi-related works
are ``Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!'' and ``What
Do You Care What Other People Think?'', both by Richard
Feynman (with Ralph Leighton).
2 - Journey to Tuva
Otto Mänchen-Helfen, extensively annotated and
translated from German to English by Alan Leighton.
Ethnographics Press, University of Southern California,
Available from Friends of Tuva. A great book detailing
the visit of a Westerner in 1929. Contains an appendix
about present day Tuva and a map.
3 - Nomads of Eurasia Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
County University of Washington Press, 1989.
* This book accompanied the museum exhibit "Nomads: Masters of
the Eurasian Steppe" in 1989-1990. Great pictures and text.
4 - Nomads of South Siberia Sevyan Vainshtein, translated by
Michael Colenso Cambridge University Press, 1980.
Wow. The detail is impressive as the author examines
Tuvan nomadic life.
5 - In Search of Genghis Khan Tim Severin, Arrow Books, 1992.
The author joins a horseback expedition to trace the
steps of Genghis Khan from Mongolia to Europe in 1990.
An intriguing foray into the life of the modern
Mongolian nomad, with many details that may frighten
prospective visitors to the region.
7 - The Peoples of the Soviet Far East Walter Kolarz, published
by Frederick Praeger of New York, 1954.
8 - The Tuvan Manual John Krueger, available from the Mongolia
Society, 322 Goodbody Hall Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
An indispensable work that includes a primer on the
area and culture, lessons on how to read and speak
Tuvan, a Tuvan to English glossary, and several samples
of Tuvan text. An extremely valuable book that is worth
double the price (about $20). A word of caution; the
only Tuvan I know to have seen the book commented that
"no one uses those words anymore".
9 - Ancient Traditions: Shamanism in Central Asia and the
Americas Edited by Gary Seaman and Jane S. Day. Published by the
Denver Museum of Natural History and the University Press of
Based on the proceedings from ``Nomads: Masters of the
Eurasian Steppe,'' Volume 4 of the Soviet-American
academic symposia in conjunction with the museum
exhibitions. The one chapter devoted to Tuvan shamanism
is by Russian ethnographer Vera P. Diakonova.
10 - The Lost Country: Mongolia Revealed Jasper Becker. Hodder &
Stoughton, 1992. ISBN: 0-340-57978-1
Written by the Asia correspondent of the Guardian
newspaper, who visited Mongolia and surrounding
countries several times in 1989-90. Includes are
chapters on Buryatia and Tuva. Plenty of personal
observation as well as background history.
11 - The Last Disco In Outer Mongolia Nick Middleton. Onon, 1992.
About the travel experiences of a British student who
visited Mongolia in 1987 and 1990. He observes the
changes that have taken place between his two visits.
12 - Recherche experimentale sur le chant diphonique Hugo Zemp
and Tran Quang Hai. Cahier de Musique traditionnelle,
4,p27-68,Atelier d'ethnomusicologie, Geneve, 1991.
The most thorough analysis of Tuvan, Tibetan, Mongol
and Altai styles. Plenty of sound spectra representing
excerpts from a variety of songs, including cuts from
the Smithsonian Folkways CD. [BD]
13 - Structural, aerodynamic and spectral characteristics of
imitated Tibetan chanting. Aliaa Ali Khir, M.D. and Diane
M.Bless, Ph.D. Proceedings of the 21st symposium of The Voice
Foundation. Philadelphia, June 1992.
A study on ``the underlying physiological adjustments
of this unique phonetary mode''. For those with high
interests in acoustic and physiological details. The
subject under study was an American male, not a Tibetan
monk. The study suggests aphonic patients may benefit
from Tibetan chanting, as it requires minimal mean flow
rates. It quotes and agrees with previous authors
(Smith, Stevens, Tomlinson 1967), that Tibetan style
may be due to ``two modes of oscillations, one at the
normal frequency and another at some ``ill-defined''
low frequency that synchronized to every pulse of the
higher frequency''. It rules out glottal fry as the
source of the low note, which I believe is an error.
14 - Sons multiphoniques aux instruments a vent Michele
Castellango Rapport IRCAM, 34|82. Paris, France.
Wind instruments, not just voices, can play multiple
sounds. The trombone, the flute, the oboe, bassoon and
bass clarinet are examined in that respect. Defined as
: ``l'entretien d'un son stable percu comme un
accord'', multiphonic instrumental emissions are
compared to vocal overtone singing. ``Si l'on renforce
l'intensite de certaines harmoniques, ceux-ci peuvent
etre percu isolement et former une melodie
independante. A un instant donne, on percoit alors deux
hauteurs. C'est le cas du chant diphonique, de la
guinbarde et de l'arc musical ou l'on a dailleurs
souvent deux ou trois melodies formantiques en
N.B In previous years, Michele Castellango and Trang
Quang Hai have worked together on a number of
occasions, trying to pin down the nature of biphonic
14 - Theorie physiologique de la musique Hermann von Helmholtz
Editions Jacques Gabay Paris, 1990.
The Bible of acoustics and music, from the well known
19th century Heidelberg university professor. First
edition in French: 1868.
When we sing overtones, we behave as Helmholtz
resonators, amplifying certain harmonics in the note we
sing. We do so by slightly changing the volume of air
contained in our vocal tract or by changing the surface
of the aperture of our mouth. Helmholtz shows us that
in matters of resonance, there are no other variables
at play than volume of air and surface of aperture.
Following up on Helmhotz I hypothesized that whenever
three notes were distinctly heard in a given style
(i.e. Kaigal-ool Khovalyg singing in khoomei style) one
was amplified using the tongue as a means to vary the
volume of air, one was amplified using the aperture of
the mouth. Both field observations of professional
Tuvan singers and personal practice seem to verify
15 - Tuvan Folk Music A.N. Aksenov Asian Music IV, 1973
I've been unable to confirm the existence of this book,
or even find out what language it has been published
in. It was listed as one of several books being
auctioned by a specialist in antique books.
16 - The Choomij of Mongolia: a Spectral Analysis of Overtone
Singing R. Walcot Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology 2, 1974
17 - The Land In The Heart Of Asia Vladimir Semenov and Marina
Kilunovskaia Bronze Horseman Literary Agency (1995) 70-52 Olcott
Street Forest Hills, NY 11375
$22, 112 pages, 72 color illustrations. Bronze Age,
Neolithic, and Scythian artifacts from excavations in
18 - Unknown Mongolia: A Record of Travel and Exploration in
North-West Mongolia and Dzungaria Douglas Carruthers Hutchinson &
``Unknown Mongolia'' is an enormous two-volume tome
based on British geographer Douglas Carruthers'
20-month journey and mapping expedition through what is
now Tuva and Mongolia. The first volume is almost all
about Tuva. Carruthers was literally charting uncharted
territory. The stated intent of the journey was as a
geographic expedition. Carruthers set out to map the
territory and investigate its geology, flora and fauna.
The result is a fascinating and highly informative
account, written in the somewhat overblown, erudite
manner typical of the aristocrats who were members of
the Royal Geographic Society.
Despite his understandably "Orientalist" approach,
Carruthers for the most part manages to avoid the
judgmental condescension of many other British
explorers. His account of the indigenous people and
their ways of life is sensitive and respectful, and his
painstaking attention to detail is rendered more with
refreshing candor and wide-eyed wonder than with the
bored skepticism of some of the other British travel
accounts of the period. It's informative, entertaining,
readable, and full of vivid geographic and ethnographic
detail. [Review by Brian Donahoe.]
Booksellers list a 1994 edition of this book (ISBN
8120608577) with a price in the $40 (US) range - much
better than the rare 1914 edition.
19 - Open Lands: Travels Through Russia's Once Forbidden Places
Mark Taplin Steerforth Press, 1998, ISBN 1-883642-87-6
In 1992, when the doors to formerly forbidden areas of
the Soviet Union were opened, Taplin visited seven
newly accessible cities and regions. One chapter is
devoted to Tuva; the chapter is an interesting read,
the highlight being his run-in with Mongush
Kenin-Lopsang. Taplin has an eye for detail and
provides generous descriptions of the situations he's
encountered; his Tuvan chapter doesn't include much on
aspects of Tuvan tradition or day-to-day life but does
provide much insight on the legacies of the Soviet
20 - Books by Lev Nikolayevich Gumilev (1912-1992)
Several Russians have reported that they first became
interested in Tuva through the works (in Russian) of
this author. Some titles of interest are "Hunnu in
China" "Ancient Turkic people".
14: Any recommended reading about Feynman?
A: Send your suggestions. Here's what I've found.
1 - Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! Richard Feynman, as told to Ralph
Leighton W.W. Norton, 1985. Paperback by Bantam Books, ISBN 0-553-34668-7.
Another canonical work. Sometimes inspirational, sometimes
educational, always amusing. I can't praise this book highly
enough to do it justice.
2 - What Do *You* Care What Other People Think? Richard Feynman, as told to
Ralph Leighton W.W. Norton, 1988. Paperback by Bantam Books, ISBN
In a way, "What Do You Care" fills in the holes that "Surely
You're Joking" left unexplored. Some stories are light hearted,
while others are somewhat tragic. The second half of the book
details Feynman's work with the Rogers Commission. Highly
3 - QED - The Strange Theory of Light and Matter Richard Feynman Princeton
University Press, 1985.
Quantum electrodynamics explained for the generalist. Will the
reader understand modern physics after reading this book? No, but
not to worry (as explained on page 9). The clearest and most
concise explanation of the subject available.
4 - The Feynman Lectures on Physics Richard Feynman, Robert Leighton,
Matthew Sands Addison-Wesley, 1963.
This legendary three-volume set established the precedent of
"Feynman talks, Leighton writes". Fascinating lectures delivered
with insight usually not presented to undergraduate students.
5 - Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman James Gleick Pantheon
Books, 1992. Paperback by Vintage/Random House, 1993, ISBN 0-679-74704-4.
Gleick is a thorough researcher; the bibliography is formidable.
His writing does not convey the same friendly charm of Feynman's
narrated stories, but the different viewpoint will be of interest
to the completist.
6 - No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated Richard Feynman Christopher Sykes
W.W. Norton, 1994.
Great book. Ralph Leighton describes it as a get-together at a
home where Feynman is the main topic of conversation, and Feynman
shows up to tell his version of events.
7 - SIX EASY PIECES: Essentials of Physics Explained by its Most Brilliant
Teacher Richard P. Feynman Addison-Wesley and the Caltech Archives, 1994.
Six Lectures from The Feynman Lectures on Physics, with
accompanying audio on CD or cassette.
8 - The Art of Richard P. Feynman : Images By a Curious Character Compiled
by Michelle Feynman G+B Science Publishers SA, G+B Arts International ISBN
173 pages with 92 full page black and white images and 7 colour
plates by Feynman the artist. Accompanying the images are 57
pages of commentary and reminiscences, some of which has been
printed before (``But Is It Art?'' from ``Surely You're Joking'')
and some of which is new. Particularly interesting are the
contributions from the wonderful Albert Hibbs and from Michelle
Feynman. A great book for the enthusiast.
9 - The Beat of A Different Drum: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman
Jagdish Mehra Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1994 ISBN 0-19-853948-7 (cloth)
According to the book jacket, Feynman in 1980 requested that
Mehra ``do what he had already done for Heisenberg, Pauli, and
Dirac, that is write a definitive account of his life, science
and personality.'' Mehra, who had known Feynman personally for 30
years, readily agreed.
10 - Richard Feynman - A Life In Science John Gribbin and Mary Gribbin
Dutton, published by the Penguin Group, 1997 ISBN 0-525-94124-X (hardcover)
The book attempts to capture both the essence of Feynman's
scientific works and the essence of his `curious character' in
one book, and succeeds to a good degree. The scientific
explanations are well-explained in an interesting manner, and the
anecdotes are always engaging. This may be of the most interests
to the reader who has not already enjoyed other books featuring
stories from Feynman's life, since there is inevitably some
duplication between books, but even the seasoned reader will find
something new here.
11 - Most of the Good Stuff - Memories of Richard Feynman Laurie M. Brown
and John S. Rigden, editors American Institute of Physics, 1993 ISBN
One of the better books, this is a collection of reminiscences
and anecdotes from colleagues and friends, organized around the
impact he made through his scientific work, through his teaching,
and through his personality. Several of the pieces appeared in
the February 1989 issue of `Physics Today' but are not reprinted
15: Are audio recordings available?
A: I'm glad you asked. Long gone are the days when Tuvan (and other central
Asian) music was difficult to find; the enthusiast now has a wonderful
array of offerings to choose from. Of course, not all of these recordings
are available in every store, but we've tried to supply all the information
needed to place a special order. of course, if you're not certain of what
you want, you can always ask in Usenet newsgroup alt.culture.tuva.
1 - Tuva: Voices From The Center Of Asia.
Smithsonian Folkways CD SF 40017
Distributed by Rounder Records, Cambridge MA.
33 tracks, 41'50, featuring numerous performers
recorded in Tuva by Ted Levin, Eduard Alexeev, Zoya
Kirgiz. Khoomei, jew's harp, sigit, animal imitations.
Excellent, scholarly, musicological liner notes.
2 - Tuva: Voices from the Land of the Eagles
Pan Records CD 2005CD
P.O. Box 155, 2300 AD Leiden, Netherlands
11 tracks, 46'46, khomus, tyzani, igil, amirga,
toshpular. Features Kongar-ool Ondar, Kaigal-ool
Khovalig, Gennadi Tumat, all soloists of the folk
ensemble Tuva. Recorded February 23, 1991. Excellent
3 - Voix de l'Orient Sovietique
Inedit W 260008
Maison des Cultures Du Monde , Paris
Only one Khoomei track, but it is supposedly very good.
Other tracks from other Soviet (now CIS) central Asian
republics. [I don't have this one - Kerry]
4 - Mongolian Folk Music
Hungaroton HCD 18013-14
Selected from the 1967 year's collection by Lajos
Vargyas. [I don't have this one - Kerry]
5 - Mongolie- Musique vocale et instrumentale
Inedit W 460009
[I don't have this one - Kerry]
6 - Sainkho Namtchylak - Lost Rivers
Free Music Productions FMP CD 42
Postbox 100 227, 1000 Berlin 10, Germany
Solo voice. Avante garde singing, with some polyphonic
singing. 13 tracks, 74'18.
7 - Sainkho Namtchylak - When the Sun Is Out You Don't See Stars
Free Music Productions FMP CD 38
With Peter Kowald (bass), Werner Ludi (saxes), Butch
Morris (cornet). 20 tracks, 72,50, less avante garde
than Lost Rivers.
8 - Sainkho Namtchylak - Out Of Tuva
Cramworld/Crammed Discs CD CRAW6
Recorded between 1986 and 1993 in Kyzyl, Moscow, Wuppertal,
Paris, and Brussels.
Mostly pop songs incorporating traditional folklore and
some traditional techniques, the liner notes explain
that these are recordings that Sainkho had made with no
plans to release them. Muscovite Artemy Troitsky
thought that they should be released and put them on
this disk, along with three new songs.
The songs are generally less esoteric than other
Sainkho works and they are far more accessible to the
casual listener. The featured instrument is her voice,
and the accompaniment varies from somewhat bare
percussion to a large orchestra to synthesized washes.
I like this disc more than the other Sainkho ones I've
heard, and if I were to recommend a first Sainkho album
to newcomers, this would be it.
As an added bonus, the insert artwork is pretty good;
the cover is a stunning photo of Sainkho's face and
shoulders superimposed in front of a bright blur of
colour. The liner notes are good but too brief; only
some of the songs have accompanying notes listing the
details of the recording. 13 Tracks, total length
9 - Sainkho Namtchylak - Letters
Leo CD 190. Unreviewed.
10- Tuva: Echoes from the Spirit World
Pan Records CD 2013CD
17 tracks, 61'38, khomus, tyzani, igil, amirga,
toshpular, dambiraa, bell, kengirge, byzaanchy, limbi,
buree, savag, tung, tenchak, khirilee. Features 11
performers, includes recordings made on tour in 1992 as
well as older recordings from Soviet radio (1973, 1983,
1986). Superlative liner notes explaining many ideas
11- Ozum (Sprouts): Young Voices of Ancient Tuva
Window to Europe CD sum 90 008
Jodenbreestraat 24, 1011 NK, Amsterdam, Netherlands
A Dutch-Russian release from Otkun Dostai, Oolak Ondar,
and Stanislav Iril, three young Tuvan musicians who
have built on the traditional style. A strong album
that I really like. Oolak Ondar (b. 1973) was the
winner at the throat singing symposium (1991, Kyzyl) in
sygyt style. Stanislav Iril was also a symposium
winner (best kargyraa, 1995). See
khomus, acoustic guitar, and shaman drum.
13 tracks, 42'34.
12- Mongolian Songs
King Record Co CD KICC 5133
2-12-13 Otowa Bunkyo-ku Tokyo 112 Japan
Part of King's World Music Library, this is a Japanese
import with almost no English in the package. 7
performers, 19 songs, 54'52. The men's khoomei is very
good, the women's takes some getting used to.
13- Mongolian Epic Song (Zhangar)
King Record Co CD KICC 5136
2-12-13 Otowa Bunkyo-ku Tokyo 112 Japan
Male vocal with instrumental accompaniment. Short and
14- Mongolian Morin Khuur Ci Bulag
King Record Co CD KICC 5135
Sentimental horse-head fiddle solos.
15- Morin Khuur Ci Bulag
JVC World Sounds, VICG-5212
More Sentimental horse-head fiddle solos.
16- Mongolie Ensemble Mandukhai
Playa Sound, PS 65115
Large variety with some khoomei.
17- Mongolie Chants Kazakh et tradition epique de l'Ouest
Ocora - Radio France, C 580051
25 songs, with tobsuur accompaniment, recorded in
Mongolia in 1984 and 1990. Twenty songs of Kazakh
music, some of it actually danceable! Minimal khoomei,
although the voices do make good use of changing
timbres. The final five songs are labelled ``epic
tradition of the West'' and the lyrics are fragments of
lengthy epic songs.
18- Huun-Huur-Tu: Sixty Horses In My Herd - Old Songs and Tunes
Shanachie Records CD SH 64050 CD/MC
37 E. Clinton St., Newton NJ 40017
Master khoomigch Kaigal-ool Khovalyg and his new group,
which has toured all over the US. 12 tracks of all
natures of top-notch khoomei, other singing, igil
(Tuvan viol) playing. Its being studio-produced, which
although lending a slight inauthenticity, makes for an
eminently listenable album. Decent liner notes and
19- Uzlyau: Guttural Singing of the People of the Sayan, Altai,
and Ural Mountains
(1993) PAN 2019CD (PAN Records Ethnic Series)
37 recordings from Russian archives form a catalog of
all known styles of overtone singing from Tuva (12),
Altai (2), and Baskhiria (23), collected, produced,
(partially) recorded, and documented in encyclopaedic,
scholarly liner notes by Vyacheslav Shchurov. Studio
and field recordings, featuring master khoomigch
Oorzhak Khunashtaar-ool in some awesome 1977
performances recored by Radio Moscow. Some doshpuluur
and khomus, but almost all vocal. Some absolute
knockout kargyraa. A must. [BSG]
20- Tales of Tuva
Kira Van Deusen recites three Tuvan stories (in
English) with musical accompaniment by Kongar-ool
Ondar, Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, and Anatoli Kuular.
21- Shu-De: Voices from the Distant Steppe
Realworld/WOMAD Productions (Real World Records Ltd)
(In US): Carol 2339-2 Caroline Records, Inc 111 West 26th
New York NY 10001
16 tracks by the Tuvan ensemble Shu-De (M. Mongush, L.
Oorzhak, N. Shoigu, B. Salchak, O. Kuular), including
all varieties of khoomei, igil, doshpuluur, & limbi
(flute) playing, plus a wide variety of styles from
Buddhist Chant to Tuvan tongue twisters to
Western-style choral harmony. A shamanic ritual ends
out the CD. A magnificent kargyraa cut by Leonid
Oorzhak is a highlight. Eminently listenable. (Spring
1994). Weak liner notes. [BSG]
22- Tuvinian Singers & Musicians: Khoomei: Throat-Singing from
the Center of Asia.
Distributed in Germany via Zweitausendeins Versand, Postfach,
D-60381 Frankfurt. Order Number 55838.
Volume 21 of the World Network series, a coproduction
from WDR (West-deutscher Rundfunk - a major TV and
radio station in Germany) and World Network.
16 tracks (total playing time: 64' 01"), partially
recorded in Cologne in April 1993 and in Tuva in
September 1992. Performers include Schaktar Schulban, a
10 year old boy, the 18 year-olds Ondar Mongun-Ool and
Bujan Dondak, and the Tuva Ensemble, founded in 1988 by
Gennadi Tumat, Oleg Kuular, Stas Danmaa and Alexander
This CD can be warmly recommended to all lovers of
Tuvinian music. The music presented is a well performed
collection of authentic vocal and instrumental pieces.
Since all pieces are strictly traditional this CD
cannot be compared to the performance by e.g. Sainkho.
Track no. 9, performed by the unusually young artist
Schaktar Schulban, reveals the enormous talent of this
The CD is very interesting because next to the overview
of singing styles the listener is also introduced to a
representative spectrum of instrumental music. [OC]
23- Tuvinski Folklore
Melodiya Stereo 33 C60-14937-42 1981, Out of print.
This three LP set features a total of 65 tracks, most
of which are khoomei, and instrumental music. One
entire disk (both sides) is devoted to two tracks, each
over 24 minutes long, of byzanchi playing. There are
also several tracks of story telling, and a few of the
musical numbers are repeated with variations or in
slightly different styles.
The Melodiya record that Feynman had is apparently
unavailable, although the vaults of recording agencies
in the former USSR have been opened to interested
entrepreneurs. Latest reports say that the masters have
24- Kronos Quartet: Night Prayers
Elektra Nonesuch CD 2 79346
Distributed by Warner Music.
One track on this CD, "Kongerei", features Kaigal-ool
Khovalyg, Anatoly Kuular, and Kongar-ool Ondar singing
along to the accompaniment of the Quartet (2 violins, 1
viola, 1 cello). This new version is interesting in
it's approach to a traditional Tuvan song with modern
General Records GR 90-202 (Moscow), 1993
Albert Kuvezin (throat-singing and instruments yat-kha,
byzanchi, organs, khomus, percussion & gongs) and Ivan
Sokolovski (keyboards, computers, cello, drums &
percussions, noises). Kuvezin is a founding member of
the group Huun-Huur-Tu, living in Moscow, who
specializes in his own style of kargyraa, extremely
low-pitched singing with artificial subharmonics. In
this hour of 13 tracks, he exploits this awesome and
rarely-heard technique, combining it with techno-pop
backup sounds (and a token amount of traditional
singing/playing) to produce a thoroughly unique,
avant-garde offering which has the power to grow on
you. Deliberately obscure liner notes [BSG].
Here is some news from Yat-Kha from August of 1995:
Eki ergim eshter! (Hello dear friends)
I would like to inform you about some news of the
Yat-Kha band. We are right now recording a new album at
the Global Mobile studio in Helsinki under the roof
(and rules) of Anu Laakkonen. The album presents our
new style: "Yenisei kargyrapunk". The participating
musicians in this projects are: Alexei/vocal, tungur,
igil; myself/kargyra & guitars; Evgeniy/percussions,
Kari/sound & drinks; Anu/sauna; Mikko/cooks & drinks;
Akym/phonecontrol. The CD will be released by Global
Music Centre soon. Start saving now! We will give the
account details later. [AK]
26- Huun-Huur-Tu (with Mergen Mongush): Orphan's Lament
Shanachie Records 64058
A work of well-produced art, contemporary offerings in
traditional Tuvan styles, not an ethnomusicological
assay. Its 16 pieces in styles varying from unison
Kargyraa chants to political songs to khomus ("Jews'
harp") solos provide a tour-de-force of Tuvan styles
designed for listening pleasure and wonderment. Master
khoomigch Kaigal-ool Khovalyg's deeply touching igil
(Tuvan viol) playing is (as on "60 Horses") a real
highlight of the album. His frequent vocal solos in all
styles, and those of the sweet-voiced Anatoli Kuular,
joined by Mergen Mongush for one sygyt cut, help place
this album among the two or three "must-have"'s for
anyone who *enjoys* authentic Tuvan music. [BSG]
27- Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Geronimo, An American
Columbia CD CK 57760
Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, Anatoly Kuular, and Sayan Bapa
sing and play on six of the seventeen tracks. The
Tuvans make a significant contribution to the
soundtrack and share writing credits on some songs.
This CD is not a "must-have" for the traditionalist but
is interesting. The CD seems to have a higher Tuvan
content than was actually heard in the movie.
28- The ReR Quarterly, Volume 4, Number 1 (ReR 0401)
The ReR Quarterly is a sort of audio magazine dedicated
to weird and experimental music. The first track on
this issue is "Koongoortoog," whom we know today as
Huun-Huur-Tu. Most of the rest of the CD is
significantly modernist abstract composition or
alienated rock music.
This old traditional song was recorded in 1991 in
Moscow when the Koongoortug band consisted of only
Albert Kuvezin and Alexander Bappa. On this song Mr.
Kuvezin sang and played all the instruments (yat-kha,
fretless bass, drum machine, buddhist percussion)
except shell by Mr. Bappa. Arrangement was done by Mr.
Kuvezin. The studio time was purchased by Mr. Bappa.
This tape was given to Chris Cutler in London. The
picture and the information was mistakingly taken from
the first CD of Huun Huur Tu. ReR Megacorp is reachable
at 74 Tulse Hill, London SW2 2PT, England, or
distributed in the USA by Wayside Music, PO Box 8427,
Silver Spring MD 20907. (Source: [AK], Alexei Saaia,
Anu Laakkonen, Akym (AAAA Club))
29- Whistling In the Temple: Harmonic Voices
Simone Records, 412 East Ellis Ave., Inglewood, CA 90302.
In the USA, call 1-800-300-3315 for info.
Most songs have overtone singing and other cultural
references such as instrumentation and source material
which refer to Tuvan lifestyle. It is a hybrid
recording, but not in a pop type manner such as Sainko.
I did enjoy the music and gist of the material
30- Jeff Lorber: West Side Stories
Polygram Records, distributed by Verve Records, 314 523
Kongar-ool Ondar sings on one track, ``Tuva'', five
minutes long. He sings two themes (the old favourite,
``Alash River'' and another, about the Tuvan forests),
and Lorber has built a song around them. The music is
not traditional, or a facsimile (for example, the
Kronos Quartet blended their instruments well with the
Tuvan themes on their Tuvan song) but is funky light
jazz played mainly on synthesizers. An added bonus: in
the liner notes Lorber mentions that he made his studio
available to Kongar-ool to record an album for release
Lava Productions. 23705 Vanowen St., suite 123, West
CA 91307, USA. E-Mail: LAVAUSA@AOL.COM
Tuvan music played on modern rock instruments.
32- Kongar-ool Ondar - Echoes of Tuva
This recording is a solo recording by Kongar-ool Ondar,
made in the picturesque old city hall of Pasadena,
California. The building's natural reverberance is used
to great effect and gives the recordings a very natural
The recording opens with traditional songs done
impeccably, but it is the more modern-sounding songs
that are most interesting. Also striking is the prayer
for Richard Feynman, a song featuring only voice and
The recording is available directly from Friends of
Tuva, Box 182, Belvedere CA 94920.
33- The Legend of Tannu Uriangkhai
Published by The Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission,
4th Floor, #5, Shu-Chow Road, Taipei, Republic of China.
Produced by the Typhoon Music Co, director Lee Hou-kou.
A book and CD combination in Chinese and English, with
references, the CD is excellent [Not reviewed by me -
34- Khomus: Jew's Harp Music of the Turkic Peoples in the Urals,
and Central Asia.
Pan Records CD PAN 2032CD
P.O. Box 155, 2300 AD Leiden, Netherlands
Phone: (+31-71)219479 fax: (+31-71)226869
While only one track (out of 33) is from Tuva, this is
an excellent survey of khomus music of the Turkic
speaking peoples. Excellent liner notes, including
repeated mention of Tuva and a Tuvan folk tale
regarding the origin of the khomus. Very listenable if
you like khomus (very twangy if you don't like
khomus...) with most of the songs being complete,
though fairly short. Music is from Gorno-Altai,
Kyrgyzstan, Tuva, Bashkortostan, and Yakutia. There is
surprising variety in the music from this simple
Here are the details on the Tuvan track (#5): ``BAYAN
KOL and BISTING TYVA (Our Tuva). Also found on LP
Melodiya 14937 #1 and #10. Many folk musicians do not
perform on the stage but rather prefer to play in a
natural environment, like the Tuvan herdsman
Khunashtaar-ool Oorzhak playing temir khomus''. Total
time: 66'03. [MVB]
35- Khoomei 92 - WTE Tapes 004
Window to Europe
Jodenbreestraat 24, 1011 NK, Amsterdam, Netherlands
tel +31-20-6245747 fax +31-20-6203570
Though I have not heard this one myself it comes highly
recommended by a friend in Amsterdam. It is a tape
(presumably also on CD) from the first International
Symposium on Throat Singing in Kyzyl, June 1992. [MVB]
36- Planet Soup
Produced by Ellipsis Arts, 20 Lumber Rd., Roslyn, NY 11576,
(800) 788-6670, FAX: (516) 621-2750.
This illustrated book (48 pages) and three compact
discs (or cassette) includes one song (1:51 minutes),
``Genghis Blues: The Ballad of Cher Shimjer (What You
Talkin' About?)'' featuring Paul Pena, (vocals,
guitars, kargyraa vocals); Kongar-ool Ondar (sygyt
vocal, khomus) and; ``C.T.'' and Rusty Gunn (backing
There's also an interesting track by Bolot Bairyshev,
from Altay in Mongolia (this track is originally from
``Voice of Asia 2'').
37- Jon Rose: Violin Music For Supermarkets
Megaphone Records, Megaphone 016 (CD), released 1994.
Sainkho Namtchylak appears on track 11, ``Shopping In
38- Yat-Kha: Yenisei-punk
Global Music Centre GMCD 9504, Finland, 1995.
Contact: e-mail: email@example.com ,
http://www.globalmusic.fi/index.html (Finnish) or
Solun chaagai sovet churtum (Beautiful Soviet Country)
Karangailyg kara hovaa (In the endless black steppe)
Kaa-khem (Name of the river)
Kuu-la khashtyn baaryndan (At the foot of a mountain)
Kamgalanyr kuzhu-daa bar (We have protection force)
Irik chuduk (Rotten log)
Chashpy-khem (Name of a river)
Kadarchy (Shepherd boy)
Chok-la kizhi yry (Song of a poor lonely)
Een kurug kagban-na men (I didn't leave my yurt empty)
Toorugtub taiga (Cedar taiga)
If Michael Gira would have been born in Tuva, this is
how the Swans would sound, I guess. All the instruments
but the electric guitar are ethnic Tuvan, but I have
the impression they're not as lively and diversified as
with Huun-Huur-Tu. Also, the throat singing is quite
threatening in a monotonous way, but not as
breath-taking and crazy as with Huun-Huur-Tu. Although
many of the songs are about nature, this CD sounds very
dark and gloomy, hence the "punk" title; not the Sex
Pistols kind of punk, more like Joy Division.
Every song on its own is an impressive listening
experience, but maybe there isn't enough variation to
make the whole CD interesting enough. Luckily, some
songs have accompanying extra voices.
The last track is more than 10 minutes long, and is not
really a song, more the singer showing of his low
throat voice, which only rarely gets the "vacuum
cleaner" sound effect. Conclusion: good, but not
essential exotica stuff. [Reviewed by Johan Dada Vis
39- Deep In the Heart of Tuva - Cowboy Music From the Wild East
Ellipsis Arts CD4080, ISBN 1-55961-324-6
64 page book, 60+ minute CD
This recent release comes with a well-produced booklet
full of information (interviews, khoomei details, liner
notes, etc.) and superb photos. The music is a sampler
of a wide variety of performers and styles. This
release sets a new standard for Tuvan music production.
40- Huun-Huur-Tu: If I'd Been Born An Eagle
"If I'd Been Born An Eagle" explores a possible past
with the addition of an end-blown flute, an instrument
of other Turkic mountain peoples, which may once have
been played in Tuva. Once you hear it along with the
other Tuvan instruments, you'll wonder why the Tuvans
ever gave it up! This CD is a worthy addition to the
other two by HHT. [RL]
41- Huun-Huur-Tu and Angelite: Fly, Fly My Sadness
Recorded in Bulgaria with the women's choir Angelite
(formerly called Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares), this CD
is definitely meditative stuff --- not quite my style,
but certainly an interesting mixture of distinctive
musical traditions. [RL]
42- Vershki da Koreshki
Al Sur CD ALCD 204, 1996.
15, rue des Goulvents, 92000 Nanterre, France,
Telephone (33) 01 41 20 90 50.
9 tracks, 56'08.
Featuring: Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, voice, khoomei, igil,
khomus Mola Sylla, vocals, kongoma, xalam, kalimba
Alexei Levin, accordian, piano, khomus, kongoma
Vladimir Volkov, double bass Paco Diedhjou, sauruba
This album features one musician from Tuva, two from
Senegal, and two from Saint Petersburg. The musicians
blend their styles and genres to form an interesting
and attractive result; although similar experiments
haven't always worked well in the past, in this case it
The accordian and the double bass complement, rather
than steer, the other instruments. The addition of the
rich sounding double bass to Tuvan melodies is quite
satisfying. The African and Tuvan musical elements are
not as disparate as one might expect; this is more a
testimony to the talents and to the calibre of the
musicians than to any similarities inherent in the
43- Chirgilchin: The Wolf and the Kid
Shanachie CD 64070 16 tracks, 1996.
Featuring: Ondar Mongun-ool, throat-singer Aidysmaa
Kandan, singer Tamdyn Aldar, instruments Produced by
The 20-year old Tuvan performers sound great on this
recording, and some listeners will already know
Mongun-Ool from a sygyt cut on the World Network CD
``Choomeij: Throat-Singing From the Center of Asia''.
Mongun-Ool is one of the greatest sygyt-singers, but he
masters other styles as well. [Review by Sami Jansson.]
44- Big Sky: Standing On This Earth
Skysong Productions, inc., SPCD1001, 1997
P.O. Box 11755, Minneapolis, MN, 55412
12 tracks, total time 55:57
Big Sky features alt.culture.tuva contributor Steve
Sklar on guitar and vocals, and on one song on this CD,
"Siberia", he uses his his formidable kargyraa and
sygyt to great effect. Not a Tuvan CD, but one with
some Tuvan influence; it is mostly upbeat (in outlook
as well as tempo) pop/rock with a bright, wide-open,
spacious sound reminiscent of Tuva's wide open plains.
Additional Big Sky tracks can be found online at
http://mp3.com/bigsky --- for instance, "Fire in the
Water" features khoomei singing, (especially sygyt).
Big Sky themselves are on the WWW at
http://www.bigskyrocks.com/ and Steve Sklar has a
khoomei page at URL
45- Ondar & Pena: Genghis Blues
TuvaMuch Records, 1997, c/o Friends of Tuva
12 tracks, total time 53:54
Available from the Tuva Trader.
A collaboration between Tuva's Kongar-ol Ondar and
occasional alt.culture.tuva contributor Paul
``Earthquake'' Pena, this CD successfully blends the
traditions of Tuvan music with those of American blues.
Several of the songs are traditional, but the original
songs by Pena are the attraction: the first track,
``What You Talkin' About?'', is a killer and is worth
the price of the CD by itself. This Bo Diddley-style
tour de force recounts how Pena began his journey to
Tuva and his journey into khoomei.
Other highlights are the notable ``Kargyraa Moan'', a
song that helped win Paul Pena first prize in the
kargyraa competition at the 1995 Khoomei Symposium in
Kyzyl, as well as ``Tuva Farewell'', Pena's thoughts
and insights about his visit to (and return from) Tuva.
46- Tuvan Folk Music: It's Probably Windy In Ovyur...
Long Arms Records & IMA-press, 1997, CDLA 9707
29 tracks, total time 60:58
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
This recording may be a landmark on the horizon of
Tuvan music in that it was recorded in Tuva
(October-November 1995) by Tuvans, for Tuvans. This is
a collection of songs by musicians from the Ovyur
region (with the hope that compilations will be
forthcoming for other regions) featuring aspects of
singing that have been overlooked by foreign
recordings, which have concerned themselves primarily
with the various forms of khoomei. Ovyur is a region
southwest of Kyzyl, bordering on Mongolia.
The music is wonderful and covers a wide range of
styles; ballads, galloping songs, laments, patriotic
fighting songs... and that's just the first four!
Various instruments are used, including igil,
doshpulur, and khomus, along with the accordion, but
many songs are vocal solos, by both women and men.
Words cannot do the CD justice; the performances are
all very natural sounding and very clearly recorded.
This sounds like a performance sitting around the
campfire or around the stove in the yurt, with no echo
or effects added. My favourite songs are the ones with
the soaring melodies and quiet accordion accompaniment.
The liner notes are primarily in Russian (I think; I
can't see any Tuvan) with some translation into
English. The package and insert are well-crafted with
flashy graphic arts and photos. Produced by Sainkho
Namchylak and Otkun Dostai, this is a work to be proud
of, and I hope to see more recordings in this vein.
47- Kongar-ol Ondar: Back Tuva Future
Warner Brothers Records CD9 47131-2
11 tracks, 50'05. Wow! An interesting and adventurous
experiment bringing together Kongar-ol Ondar's music
and singing, recordings from Feynman and Leighton's
drumming and storytelling days, and some excellent
western musicians including Sam Bush, Randy Scruggs,
and Victor Wooten. Some of these tracks became instant
favourites - the ones with the most propelling beat
actually sound vaguely reminiscent of some
Tuvan-Western fusion songs I heard on a cassette tape
in a car on the road to Teeli. Don't forget to look for
the hidden track!
48- Huun-Huur-Tu: Where Young Grass Grows
Shanachie Records CD 66018
15 tracks, 45'05. No review available yet. Tracklist: 1
Ezir-Kara 2 Anatoly On Horseback 3 Deke-Jo 4 Xöömeyimny
Kagbasla Men (I will not abandon my xöömei) 5 Avam
Churtu Dugayimny (Dugai, the land of my mother) 6
Dyngyldai 7 Highland Tune 8 Hayang (name of a hunter) 9
Barlyk River 10 Tarlaashkyn 11 Interlude: Sayan playing
khomus with water in his mouth 12 Sarala 13 Sagla
Khadyn Turula Boor (It's probably windy on Sagly
steppe) 14 Ezertep-Le Bereyin Be (Do you want me to
saddle you?) 15 Live Recording: Anatoly and Kaigal-ool
riding horses in Eleges while singing sygyt (Anatoly),
kargyraa and xöömei (Kaigal-ool)
49- Tuva, Among the Spirits: Sound, Music, and Nature in
Sakha and Tuva
Smithsonian Folkways CD SFW 40452
19 tracks, 49'00, featuring numerous performers
recorded in Tuva and Sakha by Ted Levin and Joel
Gordon. Excellent music with excellent scholarly,
musicological liner notes. To be reviewed further.
50- Tarbagan: Tarbagan Rises On The Earth
BooxBox World Wide Music CD BWM-A801
14 tracks. Japanese release featuring Haruhiko Saga and
51- Yat-Kha: Dalai Beldiri
Wicklow Entertainment LLC
10 tracks, 46:05. More amazing bass from Albert Kuvezin
with Aldyn-ool Sevek and Zhenya Tkach'v. Mainly
traditional songs arranged in a modern style by
Kuvezin; some exciting sounds. This is a very
natural-sounding album and the fusion doesn't sound at
all forced and contrived - a very musical record. Comes
in a cool package with some great photos.
51- Shu-De: Kongurei
Newtone Records - NT 6745 2 CD