Back Tuva future

And now for something completely different [with apologies to Monty Python’s Flying Circus]…

My posts about music usually revolve around great guitar riffs, but today it’s about a different kind of music, one I presume many people won’t be too familiar with. Tuvan throat singing as practised by the Tuvan people of Southern Siberia in the region of Mongolia, is a very old art-form which involves producing one or more pitches of sound from deep within the throat.

One of the more accomplished practitioners of this amazing art is Kongar-ol Ondar who hails from Tuva and is a master of the khöömei style of throat singing (the others being kargyraa and sygyt). Ondar is relatively well-known in the West and has brought a modern touch of fusion to this old art with compositions such as this:

And even an attempt at rapping that has me re-appraising my antipathy towards rap music:

Kongar-ol Ondar has collaborated with Western artists such as Paul Pena and Bela Fleck. This collaboration with Bill Miller, a Native American, is simply astounding as it showcases the vocal abilities from two different continents and cultures.

However he does enjoy some light-hearted moments, such as in concert here with Bela Fleck and the Fleckstones:

If you listened carefully to the song, you will have heard a reference to Richard Feynman, the famous American physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for his work in quantum electrodynamics. Feynman also shared a keen interest in, and fascination of Tuvan throat singing, and is considered the “patron saint” of the informal group Friends of Tuva.