Friday, May 18, 2018

Tuvan Throat Singing - A Master Class

They were the masters.  We were the students.
Big Cuter was more successful than I was,
sitting knee to knee with Igor Kashkendey. 
He listened to every attempt, laughing with us, encouraging us, leaning in closer as we approached something close to what he was able to do in three part harmony all within his own mouth.

His hands told the story. 
Asking for more or less of whatever my son's throat was doing, 
his fingers miming the tones  for the eh and oy and growl-like -a-bear-deep-in-your-epiglottal-region.
It is said that there was throat singing before there was a formal language in Tuva, and it's easy to see why.  Igor told us that the children learn by mimicking the sounds of the animals they herd, and so a room full of adults began baaing and mooing and growling without moving their lips or using their breath for anything other than creating the vibrations molded into sound by their cheeks.

Or something like that.

Aldar Tamdyn worked  with another group,
until they all got together for a few farewell tunes, accompanied, this time, with music.
Tuvan banjo picking.......

It was quite an afternoon.


  1. I heard the throat singers on NPR about 20 years ago. It was so cool! It's wonderful that you got to experience all of this.

    1. We must have listened to the same broadcast! They are truly amazing, especially whenyou are so close to them that you can see their faces and throats and watch them create sounds without visibly moving very much at all.
      We find it hauntingly beautiful and entrancing, Big Cuter and I; TBG begs to differ :-)


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