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электронный журнал "Новые исследования Тувы"

Choduraa Tumat’s first solo concert

Choduraa Tumat was the first woman to break the traditional Tuvan prohibition on throat singing by women, by founding the women’s folk group “TyvaKyzy”. And now she has given a solo concert in front of Moscow audience in the Cultural Center “Dom”.

Tumat founded “TyvaKyzy” and has been the leader of the group for 11 years; she is the solo singer of the group.

The group tours the entire world, and has earned recognition as the best female group playing authentic Tuvan music.

Choduraa Tumat comes out modestly on the stage, sits sideways on the edge of the chair, and starts to play.

— “Musicologists recognize five basic types of throat singing. I will show you three of them – khoomei, sygyt, and kargyraa…” - explains the singer.

She starts out a capella, producing an eerie, grinding female khoomei. Then her rhythmic chanzy – a heart-shaped soundbox with a sharp neck. Choduraa sings warbling steppe songs along with the chanzy.

Another magic shaman’s instrument – khomus. Rhythmic shamanic séance with trembling, vibrating timbre, melodies through metallic vibrations – a spiritual, generous, kind melody. Only women sing like this, spiritual, generous women.

Then a weird pipe comes out, bringing the aroma of Tuvan steppes into the drizzly Moscow cold.

Choduraa coughs, then apologizes: “When I left Tuva, it was freezing, -40°C; then I came here, and it is -18°, and it is so damp and raw.” She does not leave out explanations: “This is my first solo project performance. As my main activity, I am an instructor of traditional Tuvan music at the Tuvan State University. I play with the “TyvaKyzy” group…”

Choduraa Tumat sings her grandfather’s song from the village Oyme, sad and melodic. Then it naturally continues into the “Song of a traveler”, with byzaanchy accompaniment – a string instrument with a thick neck and keys, which is played with a bow strung with horsehair.

“The soul of a Tuvan is in the songs. The soul of a Tuvan is in the family, family members. I will sing a song about them I have so many sisters… and so many relatives that you can’t count them.” And again, Choduraa coughs, and the audience responds with applause.

“This short life will pass” is the name of this song. It is about love, - says Choduraa Tumat, provoking ironic laughter from the audience – “It is a song with a sub-text… “

In the end Choduraa invites Dmitri Globa-Mikhailenko from the Moscow-based project Phurba to the stage.

—I have been to Tuva many times, and every time I am astonished again, how carefully they preserve their folk heritage, - says Dmitri Globa-Mikhailenko.

His didgerioo adds an elegant cosmism to the songs about Tuvan nature, which accents Tumat’s inventive vocals, easily changing from clear singing to thundering khoomei.

“We only met yesterday, sat for a while, played a little bit, so please do not judge us too severely, - Dmitri sounds apologetic.

“It is almost an improvisation, — smiles Choduraa.

Dmitri switches from the didgeridoo to an Arab lute, - if we are celebrating, let’s celebrate. Today is the holiday of world music.

And Choduraa takes her beloved two-string igil in her hands; the low string holds the melodic parts, and the high one the dense harmonics a quinta from the base melody. The sum of the two eastern instruments is unusual and beautiful.

The concert culminates in Tuvan classics with bells and the visceral sounds of didgeridoo. Choduraa Tumat uses several types of throat singing at once, accenting the changes of genre and literally holding a dialogue of several heroes.

“It was so pleasant for me to feel your energy, - says the magician in leave-taking.

Vadim PONOMAREV, “Novosti shou-biznesa NEWSmusic.ru”

Photo – Svetlana MALTSEVA, Photo of the Stars.

newsmusic.ru, translated by Heda Jindrak
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