Huun Huur Tu

(Website)

Huun-Huur-Tu, playing the traditional music of the nomads of Tuva, returns to Prague with a performance sure to once again awe local audiences.The unique music of Huun-Huur-Tu first began to circulate among serious ethno-music collectors and alternative music fans on cassettes in the early 1990s.

At the time it was an altogether intriguing new sound, perhaps the epitome of exotica. That was partly because the music came from such an unreachable region of the world, made accessible by the breakup of the Soviet Union. Even today, the former Soviet Autonomous Republic of Tuva remains an unknown and underpopulated region — just 300,000 residents, mainly sheep and reindeer herdsmen, living on the open grasslands, mountains and taiga and boreal forests, located approximately 2,500 miles east of Moscow and north of Mongolia, roughly at the geographical center of Asia. More important than the remoteness of Tuva, though, is the rawness of Tuvan throat-singing, or xöömei. Traditional Tuvan music is not indescribable, but it is useless to use references from traditional Western music.

Tuvan music is only fully appreciated in live performances because of the unique instrumentation and mysteriously melodic harmony, coupled with chanting, dual-pitched vocal gymnastics.When Sayan Bapa, a co-founder of the group, describes Huun-Huur-Tu’s music, it all sounds so simple: “We are playing … songs about our nature, our enormous life, also about love stories and also about horses, a very important animal in our culture,” he explained to an audience during a live performance in Munich in 2002.In that sense, this is simple music. But traditional Tuvan music is uniquely rooted in its setting, much more than other folk music, particularly in its connection to the natural landscapes, rivers, mountains and overall physical environment of its region. That means the musicians are not just singing about love and horses, but playing and “singing” (in this case, the term includes throat-singing, whistling and other vocalizations) to mimic the sounds of animals and nature, including the elemental energies of wind, water and light.Beyond that, the singing and harmonics represent a different way of seeing, understanding and experiencing the world, which adds to the unusualness of the sound. At a live performance, a meditative audience could easily imagine traveling the lands of Tuva as Huun-Huur-Tu creates a sonic map of the physical landscape.Bapa, half-Russian and half-Tuvan, specializes in the kargyraa singing style (holding an amazingly long, steady note). He plays traditional Tuvan instruments — the doshpuluur, a long-necked lute, and the igil, a two-stringed instrument played with a bow — and acoustic guitar. Another co-founder, Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, is a self-taught “overtone” chanter who was a shepherd until he was 21, when he joined the Tuvan State Ensemble. He is also a world-renowned player of the igil and especially recognized for his unique khöömei and kargyraa singing styles. Alexei Saryglar joined the group in 1995, after completing musical training as a percussionist for classical and popular music. Saryglar is a sygyt singer (or whistler), and a master of traditional Tuvan percussion and string instruments as well as the piano. The newest member of the group, Radik Tolouche (Tiuliush), joined in 2005. He was raised near the border of Mongolia, learned throat-singing from his grandfather, and studied igil at an arts school in Kyzyl. Huun-Huur-Tu are masters, above all, of Tuvan throat-singing. .

Albums

Mother-Earth! Father-Sky!

Label: Jaro
Distribution in France: Abeille
Release date: October 09, 2008

The long expected studio album of Huun-Huur-Tu was created in cooperation with famous singer Sainkho from Tuva. The aim was to produce an album based on ballads, with sounds of silence and nature, closed to the great environment of central Asia. The listener should
dive into the nature and take time for “Mother-Earth! Father-Sky!” The music infers itself to the listener at the moment he/she takes time to relax.

Huun Huur Tu - Mother-Earth! Father-Sky!