Two Toned Tuvans | Music | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
Pin It
Favorite

Two Toned Tuvans 

Huun-Huur-Tu members Radik Toluche, Alexei Saryglar, Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, and Sayan Bapa in the studio. Huun-Huur Tu will perform at the Rosendale Theater on March 8.
  • Huun-Huur-Tu members Radik Toluche, Alexei Saryglar, Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, and Sayan Bapa in the studio. Huun-Huur Tu will perform at the Rosendale Theater on March 8.

For 15 years the members of Huun-Huur-Tu have been putting their country’s musical tradition on the map. They will be bringing their otherworldly hymns to Rosendale Theater this month. While most performers can only sing one note at a time, these men can produce two or three notes simultaneously making their voices reverberate like computerized chants. Their instrumentation of igils (horse-head fiddles), dospuluurs (banjo-like instruments), khomus (mouth harps), and dungurs (large flat drums), bring a natural, tranquil feel to their music while their voices sound synthesized.

By manipulating the throat, diaphragm, and mouth, the singers can adjust the length and vibrations of tones created when air travels from the lungs past the vocal cords. Tweaking not only the rate at which the vocal cords open and close, but the manner in which they do gives their voices a shaky, bouncy quality. This technique, called throat singing, produces a number of pitches simultaneously, sounding as if multiple voices are emanating from a single singer.

Hailing from Tuva, a small country sandwiched between Siberia and Mongolia, Huun-Huur-Tu has emerged as the country’s musical ambassadors. The first throat singers of the country sought to duplicate sounds of nature, like rushing water and swishing winds. By transforming the sounds of the natural world into music, throat singers make vocal “maps” of physical landscapes in their songs. The first throat singers were herders and farmers who held a strong belief in animism; that natural objects were inhabited by spirits. Imitating the sounds of nature through their music, throat singers are able to link themselves to the physical environment. The ancient music is learned more from being passed down from generation to generation in Tuva, rather than being taught formally. However, with Huun-Huur-Tu popularizing the music, there are now throat-singing workshops around the world.

Formed in 1992, Huun-Huur-Tu has had some lineup changes and the band today consists of Sayan Bapa, Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, Radik Tolouche, and Alexei Saryglar. Huun-Huur-Tu, meaning sun propeller, refers to the propeller-like separation of light rays that often occurs just after sunrise or just before sunset: a process similar to the refraction of sound in the band’s singing. The band originally formed to concentrate on the traditional songs of Tuva, but Huun-Huur-Tu’s members also recognize their music’s need to grow, which has inspired a collaboration with the Bulgarian women’s choir Angelite on the CD Mountain Tale (Jaro, 1998).

“We’re trying to preserve our musical heritage,” says former member and co-founder Sasha Bapa. “But at the same time we’re looking forward. If a musical tradition stops evolving it is destined to die.”

Along with releasing five CDs of its own, the group has also lent its vocals to albums by Frank Zappa, The Chieftans, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, and the Kronos Quartet, and has toured North America four times and performed at festivals across Europe. The band has been nominated for the 2008 BBC World Music Award in the Asia/Pacific category.

Produced by Hop High Productions, Huun-Huur-Tu will perform at the Rosendale Theater on March 8 at 8pm. (845) 658-8989; www.huunhuurtu.com.

Speaking of...

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • CD Review: Big Joe Fitz

    John Burdick reviews "Shoulda Known Better"—an album by Big Joe Fitz.
    • May 1, 2017
  • We Can Talk About It Now: John Simon

    John Simon's "Truth, Lies, and Hearsay" will premiere at the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts in Woodstock on May 14 at 7:30pm.
    • May 1, 2016

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
David Tanis: Market Cooking: Recipes and Revelations, Ingredient by Ingredient @ The White Hart Inn

David Tanis: Market Cooking: Recipes and Revelations, Ingredient by Ingredient

Tue., Dec. 12, 6-7 p.m. — David Tanis has worked as a professional chef for over three decades,...

Jennifer Nettles

Tue., Dec. 12, 8 p.m.

View all of today's events

Latest in Music

Related to Music

  • The Moonlights Sunday Brunch
  • The Moonlights Sunday Brunch

    The Moonlights, a debut musical collaboration for families, is making the rounds at a series of live performances, including two of the upcoming Sunday Brunch at the Falcon in Marlboro.
    • Mar 20, 2017
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park

    With its open-air format, where attendees picnic in the parks and watch the stars emerge during performances, and its $5 youth tickets, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is the perfect place to share with children a love of music and theater, in a variety of styles.
    • Jul 25, 2016
  • More »

More by Tara Quealy

  • Family Affair

    “Sketches and Paintings from Ladybug Girl” will be on display June 21 through July 10 with an opening reception June 21 from 2 to 5pm at the Mill Street Loft.
    • May 28, 2008
  • While You Were Sleeping

    Corporations cash-in on organic trends, dogs drink vitamin-infused beverages, Congressmen drive around on taxpayers' buck, and other stories.
    • May 27, 2008
  • On the Cover: Blue in Utah

    “The Best Medicine: Paintings and Sculptures by Edie Nadelhaft” will be exhibited at Pearldaddy on 183 Main Street in Beacon through July 6.
    • May 27, 2008
  • More »

Hudson Valley Tweets