The Friends of Tuva Newsletter
Celebrating Richard Feynman's spirit of adventure
The Friends of Tuva Newsletter
Twelfth Issue: Summer 1995
Edited by Ralph Leighton
Published by Friends of Tuva
Box 70021, Pasadena CA 91117 USA.
Hotline and Fax: (213) 221-TUVA (-8882)
(If fax doesn't turn on automatically, press 33)
Please note new e-mail address on Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Note from the Editor
My apologies for not getting this issue out earlier; family and other matters have
forced me to put Tuva on the back burner for a while. Special thanks to the several
friends of Tuva who sent in articles, five of which make up the bulk of this issue.
Special thanks to FoT Terry Langdon for providing the articles from the Independent.
(Terry's own excellent article, too lengthy to reprint, appeared in the March 1995 issue
of QST, a magazine of amateur radio. There is also an article in the April issue of EQ
magazine about Kongar-ool Ondar and jazz musician Jeff Lorber.)
RPF's 77th BD
On May 11, Richard Feynman's 77th birthday, Ralph Leighton spoke to the westside Jewish
women's club, in honor of Feynman's mother, Lucille, who --- in Richard's words --- taught
him that the highest forms of understanding that we can achieve are laughter and human
compassion. A surprise speaker was Norman Parker, whose one-man play, ``Feynman Lives!'',
is being readied for its debut. (Places and dates will appear on the FoT hotline and in
future editions of the FoT newsletter.)
World Throat-Singing Championships in June
The week of June 18-27 marks the Second Triennial Symposium on Throat-singing, held in
Kyzyl. Participants from the US, Europe, and Japan will converge on the Tuvan capital in
unprecedented numbers. The event may be covered by BBC TV, and by independent film maker
(and FoT) Roko Belic, who is documenting the story of Paul Pena, who hopes to participate.
For the latest happenings, call the FoT hotline after June 18.
Our Own Contest
Bernt Balchen, FoT from Norway, has suggested a throat-singing contest for those who
can't make it to Kyzyl for the official event. Great idea! I hereby declare the following
rules: submit a cassette recording, not to exceed 3 minutes, in any of the following
five-categories: sygyt, khoomei, kargyraa, new age, and "anything goes". Entries
must be postmarked by June 28, and will be judged by Kongar-ool Ondar, champion of the
1992 championships in sygyt. Winners will receive a demo tape of Genghis Blues, the latest
project by Ondar, with Paul Pena. (Note: yes, Genghis Khan was Mongolian, but he is
admired in Tuva for recognizing Tuvans as a tribe distinct from the Mongols.)
Let's Learn Tuvan!
The little book by K. A. Bicheldei, once a researcher at the Tuvan Institute for
Language, History, and Literature and now Chairman of the Tuvan parliament, is in its
first revision --- which includes transcriptions into Romanized script for the first six
chapters, and a new, improved tape. Those who have already ordered it will receive the new
materials soon. Thanks to FoT Julia Fearing for compiling the Tuvan-English glossary, and
to Aldynai Seden-Khurak for checking the translation for errors and inaccuracies.
Tuvan Engineering Plant Chief Visits LA
Yurii Shyyrap, chairman of a former defense electronics plant in Kyzyl, visited Los
Angeles in February to attend a conference sponsored by Pepperdine University's Committee
for Russian Reform. The plant wants to convert to producing 3-D video games. (No, this
article was not written on April 1!) I don't know whether there have been any takers for
this conversion, but at least the existence of the T. E. P. might explain in part why our
hero had such difficulty in obtaining permission to visit Tuva! (If you don't know what
I'm talking about, read Tuva or Bust! --- see the Tuva Trader.)
Archaeology in Tuva
Jeremy Pine, a rug dealer based in London, is planning to excavate a giant Scythian
burial mound in Mongun Taiga, the remote area in the southwest of Tuva visited by Dr.
Caroline Humphrey for her documentary film (see the Tuva Trader for details), and by our
own Shep Kopp in 1993. Based on his expedition last year, which included the son of Tuva's
president, Pine says he has found ``a second Pazaryk'' referring to the frozen tombs of
the neighboring Altai mountains that contained frozen corpses and textiles. Textile
conservators are being sought as consultants. In addition to Pine's excavations in
southwest Tuva, a team of archaeologists will be excavating the Arzhan burial mound,
northwest of Kyzyl, where the Scythian bronze panther (the logo for the Nomads exhibition
described in ``Tuva or Bust!'') was found.
Genghis Blues to Appear in California
Kongar-ool Ondar and San Francisco bluesman Paul Pena are slated to perform ``Genghis
Blues'' in San Francisco and the Los Angeles area, including the Bowers Museum of Cultural
Art in Santa Ana, in the second half of July. Please call the FoT hotline (213) 221-8882,
or check alt.culture.tuva on Usenet, after July 1 for details. There is also a chance
Ondar and Pena will also appear on the ``Tonight Show with Jay Leno'' on NBC.
Articles included in this issue of the Friends of Tuva Newsletter