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, 1931/1992
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 47405, USA.
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
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 Colorado, 1994.
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.
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. ISBN: 1-85799-012-9
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. [BD]
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 contrepoint.''
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 singing. [BD]
14 - Theorie physiologique de la musique Hermann von Helmholtz Editions Jacques Gabay
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 this. [BD]
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 Tuva.
18 - Unknown Mongolia: A Record of Travel and Exploration in North-West Mongolia and
Dzungaria Douglas Carruthers Hutchinson & Co., 1914.
``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".
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.
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 0-553-34784-5.
3 - QED - The Strange Theory of Light and Matter Richard Feynman Princeton University
4 - The Feynman Lectures on Physics Richard Feynman, Robert Leighton, Matthew Sands
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.
6 - No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated Richard Feynman Christopher Sykes W.W. Norton,
7 - SIX EASY PIECES: Essentials of Physics Explained by its Most Brilliant Teacher
Richard P. Feynman Addison-Wesley and the Caltech Archives, 1994.
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 2-88449-047-7
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)
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)
11 - Most of the Good Stuff - Memories of Richard Feynman Laurie M. Brown and John S.
Rigden, editors American Institute of Physics, 1993 ISBN 0-88318-870-8 (hardcover)
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 liner notes.
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
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 40:30.
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 and terms.
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).
Khoomei, 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 long songs.
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 of Tuva
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 text. [BSG]
19- Uzlyau: Guttural Singing of the People of the Sayan, Altai, and Ural
(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
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
22- Tuvinian Singers & Musicians: Khoomei: Throat-Singing from the Center
Distributed in Germany via Zweitausendeins Versand, Postfach, D-60381 Frankfurt. Order
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 Salchak.
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 promising singer.
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 been lost.
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 Western instruments.
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 Legend
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
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 immensely.
30- Jeff Lorber: West Side Stories
Polygram Records, distributed by Verve Records, 314
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 in Tuva.
Lava Productions. 23705 Vanowen St., suite 123, West
CA 91307, USA. E-Mail: LAVAUSA@AOL.COM
Tuvan music played on modern rock instruments. Unreviewed.
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 lively feel.
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 drum.
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
4th Floor, #5, Shu-Chow Road, Taipei, Republic of
Produced by the Typhoon Music Co, director Lee
A book and CD combination in Chinese and English, with references, the CD is excellent
[Not reviewed by me - KY].
34- Khomus: Jew's Harp Music of the Turkic Peoples in the Urals, Siberia,
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 instrument.
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 vocals).
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 Tuva'' (3:51).
38- Yat-Kha: Yenisei-punk
Global Music Centre GMCD 9504, Finland, 1995.
Contact: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
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
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 does.
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 cultures.
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 Alexander Bapa
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.
Big Sky 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
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
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
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
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 Masahiko Todoriki.
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.
52- Shu-De: Kongurei
Newtone Records - NT 6745 2 CD
54- Igor Koshkendey:
Music From Tuva