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электронный журнал "Новые исследования Тувы"

Sainkho and Huun-Huur-Tu to play in Hong Kong

The Tuvan ethno-group “Huun-Huur-Tu”, and Tuvan-Austrian singer Sainkho continue with their joint concert experiments on the stage of Hong Kong, after which tehey are expected in Oslo, Norway. The tandem of the two famous projects was introduced on October 11 in Russia, in the Moscow House of Music, on the day of the 65th Anniversary of Tuva’s entering the system of Soviet Union.

A huge army of fans of the art of the legendary “Huun-Huur-Tu”, and of Sainkho’s vocal exercises gathered in the Svetlanovski Hall.

Sainkho’s larynx is an agile instrument which is capable of anything; from traditional throat singing to whistling of the wind. The singer’s vocal cords now creaked like a door, now rustled like paper, now clacked like mud smacking underfoot. The audience had sore throat just from listening to such twist and turns.

“You know, it is just like suddenly taking off a face veil – they let me take off my veil and stand next to them”, told Saikho later to the Moscow reporters about this joint concert.

The psychotherapeutic voice of the “Huun-Huur-Tu” musician Sayan Bapa explained and let the audience into the fine secrets of the performed musical hits and the multitude of styles of Tuvan throat singing. “Just like millennia ago, we use larch wood and the skin of mountain goats to make the instruments, and horse hair for the strings”’ – explained Bapa on the stage. In Tuva, where throat singing is a way of communicating with the surrounding nature, and every fourth man is a throat singer, there is a sufficient selection of groups, who play national songs professionally and with good taste. But only “Huun-Huur-Tu” also do research work; the musicians work in the manuscript archives of the Institute of Humanitarian Research, they go on field trips to distant Tuvan villages and settlements, they seek out elders, and record the music of their ancestors. Then they “tastefully” work them up and bring them into circulation at their concerts and albums. And afterwards these songs are taken over and played by other Tuvan groups. That is what happened with “The Orphan’s lament”, “Chyraa Khoor”, “Kongurei” (a song of 17th -18th centuries), which have become the mainstay hits of all Tuvan musicians.

The voice of the group’s leader, Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, a native of the singing Bazhyn-Alak (Dzun-Khemchik kozhuun of Tuva), has ripened over the past 15 years, and now exactly mirrors the intonation of Tuvan elders-storytellers. Kaigal-ool, who will turn 50 years next year, is currently one of the main keepers of the authentic Tuvan masculine vocal expression.

The group experiments. And they introduced one of such experiments together with symphonic group “Mlada” from Perm, and American electronic musician Carmen Rizzo in Moscow. All this is on their new album “Eternal”.

“As a CD project it is completely successful, but, of course, in the concert variant there are still some questions”’ – confides his critical thoughts about the mixture of electronics and ethno-music their producer, Aleksandr Cheparukhin./ - It would make a wonderful soundtrack for a movie. The music is great to listen to when driving a car. In contrast, for example, to the acoustic concerts of “Huun-Huur-Tu”. Which are excellent to listen to live. But it is complicated to listen to pure ethno while driving that same car.”. The musicians also agree that this is more of an experiment, and that it was necessary for the purpose of introducing Tuvan throat singing to a completely new audience. It was necessary as propaganda of khoomei, if you’d like.

These days, the musicians are performing in Hong Kong and Oslo.

Photos: Sainkho; audience in the hall evaluating what they have just heard; Kaigal-ool Khovalyg.

Dina Oyun, translated by Heda Jindrak
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