Huun-Huur-Tu

Article Bio Works Projects www
additional name:
Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, Sayan Bapa, Anatoli Kuular, Alexei Saryglar
crossroads:
communication, nature, spirituality
genre(subgenre):
Music (overtone-singing, throat-singing)
region:
Europe, Eastern, Asia, Eastern
country/territory:
Russian Federation, Mongolia
related artists:
created on:
July 9, 2003
last changed on:
Please note: This page has not been updated since October 18, 2005. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
touring contact:
information provided by:
 Huun-Huur-Tu
The throat-singers of Huun-Huur-Tu perform in native Mongolian satin dresses with gilt decoration and embroidery. © Stefanie Wolf

Article

Singing throats from the Steppes

To western ears the music of Huun-Huur-Tu is intriguingly strange, at the same time contemporary and modern. The four man group has performed on almost all continents and continues touring extensively - at various festivals ranging form jazz to classical.
Imagine cool fresh air, high altitudes, the wild open spaces of the steppes, rushing rivers, singing birds, galloping horses, yurts, and a culture that combines Buddhism with shamanism, and then imagine that you hear the sounds of all these elements in the music. With a beat.

The group Huun-Huur-Tu from Tuva is a world phenomenon with their unique 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. This is the unmistable sound of central Asia and takes you on a fascinating musical journey.

Tuvan laryngeal overtone singing is one of the most fascinating vocal techniques known. The ritual character of this music cannot be overheard, but Huun-Huur-Tu subjects the meditative tendencies to a strongly rhythmical orientation. The overtone technique, capable of producing as many as three melodies simultaneously, nevertheless remains deeply mysterious.

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.

Huun-Huur-Tu´s second master musician Anatoly Kuular is a master of the Jew´s harp on which he brilliantly creates a throbbing, humming music that surpasses the sound of the singing human voice.

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.

The Tuvan tunesmiths have ridden into the ears and hearts of the West over the past decade, jamming with rock bands in Moscow and Frank Zappa, and contributing (at the request of Ry Cooder) to the soundtrack of the feature film ´Geronimo´.

The rhythmic throat-singing has for centuries been used to calm the animals, to communicate with other shepherds far away or to make peace with the spirits.

In Tuva, everybody sings like this today, though until recently they frowned upon women doing it.

No studio recording can compare to the experience of a Huun-Huur-Tu concert - as countless visiters from all over the world would verify who have experienced one or more of their concerts.
Author: Karin Bergquist

Bio

The four throat-singers and musicians come from Tuva, a republic in the Russian federation located in Siberia on the border of Outer Mongolia.

In 1992 Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, Alexander Bapa, his brother Sayan Bapa, and Albert Kuvezin founded the quartet Kungurtuk, as a means of concentrating on the presentation of traditional songs of their homeland.

They have performed on major festival - world music as well as classical festivals - all over the world.

In 2003-2004, the band created projects together with Bulgarian Voices Angelite and Moscow Art Trio, and a new project is under way in co-operation with the Swiss duo Stimmhorn.

They have produced a tv programme for the German-French cultural channel Arte with the title ‘Proppler aus licht’ which was broadcasted both in Germany and France, and they started performing a live version of this programme in 2004 and are continuing doing so until fall 2006.


Works

Spirits from Tuva (Remix CD)

Published Audio,
2002
DJs from Russia, France, Greece, and Germany have remixed 11 titles of Huun-Huur-Tu. Having shot up to pop charts position No. 1, the title "Eki Attar" was the early summer hit in Greece in 2002. No. 1 at World Music Charts Europe in September 2002. (JARO 4243-2)

More Live

Published Audio,
2002
This CD contains the second part of the concert from the ´Music & Drama Theatre´ in Moscow, recorded in April 2001. The first part of this concert can be found on the CD ´Best Live´ (JARO 4236-2)

Best Live

Published Audio,
2001
No studio recording can compare to the experience of a Huun-Huur-Tu concert - as countless visitors from all over the word would testify who have experienced one or more of their concerts. Various concerts were recorded but none met the artists´ expectations until finally in April 2001 everything came together – a place where the musicians felt at home, where they played and sang with just the right inspiration, with one of Moscow´s best recording engineers and ...spring in the air. (JARO 4236-2)

Where Young Grass Grows

Published Audio,
1999
(Shanachie SHA 66018)

Mountain Tale

Production / Performance,
1998
The crossing of musical borders - both traditional and contemporary - is an essential aspect of this unique 28-musician experiment. Mikhail Alperin leads listeners on a journey of discovery through the similarities and differences of Russian, Bulgarian and Tuvan folklore, culminating in the fusion presented on this CD. (JARO 4212-2)

If I´d Been Born an Eagle

Published Audio,
1997
(Shanachie 64080)

Fly, Fly My Sadness

Published Audio,
1996
with Bulgarian Voices, Moscow Art Trio (JARO 4197-2)

The Orphan´s Lament

Published Audio,
1994
(Shanachie SHA 64058)

Sixty Horses in My Herd

Published Audio,
1993
Old Songs and Tunes of Tuva (Shanachie SHA-64050)

Projects

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

Images of Asia

(08 August 03 - 26 September 03)

Www

Huun-Huur-Tu´s official web site