Khovalyg Kaigal-ool

Article Bio Works Projects
Music (overtone-singing, throat-singing)
Europe, Eastern, Asia, Eastern
Russian Federation, Mongolia
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created on:
July 4, 2003
last changed on:
Please note: This page has not been updated since October 11, 2005. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
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Khovalyg Kaigal-ool
© Ulrich Balss


Tuva´s strong throat-singer

Kaigal-ool Khovalyg has a beautiful voice in what our culture considers the ´normal´ range, but he also has the capability to drop it down two octaves just for fun. With his group Huun-Huur-Tu he has performed on almost all continents and continues touring extensively - at various festivals ranging form jazz to classical.
Kvovalyg Kaigal-ool is one of the founders of Huun-Huur-Tu - a four person group of throat-singers, which incarnes wild and exotic voices from the Tuvan steppes.

Khovalyg performs the old shepherd song tradition with Huun-Huur-Tu.

The Tuvans are known for the throat-singing. By carefully positioning their throats, uvula, mouth, lips etc, they can make up to three different sounds at a time - a droning bass, a tenor, and a high soprano sound not unlike whistling.

To western ears this music is intriguingly strange, at the same time contemporary and modern.

The group perform in native Mongolian satin dresses with gilt decoration and embroidery.

The musicians play in a variety of hand-made instruments, including several interesting stringed ones played with bows. Many of the instruments have necks in the form of horses´ heads, because the horse is very important to the Tuvan culture.
Author: Karin Bergquist


Khovalyg worked as a shepard until the age of 21, when he was invited to join the Tuvan State Ensemble. He settled in Kyzyl and started teaching throat singing and igil.
As co-founder of Huun-Huur-Tu, he left the State Ensemble in 1993 to devote his attention to the newly formed quartet. He has performed and recorded as a solist with groups like Vershki da Koreshki and the World Groove Band.


Wheere Young Grass Grows

Published Audio,


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the partner institutions.

Images of Asia

(08 August 03 - 26 September 03)