Troupe returns for third performance: One-man band: Tuvan singers perform ancient art of throat singing

by Michael A> Posey | 3/6/97 6:00am

Hailing from the high, windy plains of Tuva, a tiny former Soviet satellite bounded by Outer Mongolia and Siberia, the Tuvan Throat-Singers, "Huun-Huur-tu" present their unique brand of music to audiences in two shows playing in the Moore Theater today at 8 and 10 p.m.

The Tuvan musicians, torch-bearers of a musical legacy that is centuries old, are renowed for their performances of an ancient musical art known as self-harmonizing.

"Khoomei," or "throat-singing," is characterized by a vocalist singing two and sometimes three distinct notes simultaneously.

Mostly nomadic cowboys by trade, Tuvan men use this artform as a means to calm and herd animals and attract wild ones during the hunt. On a spiritual level, throat-singing gives Tuvan singers a way to express their place in the natural world.

Huun-Huur-Tu, which means "layers of light", is currently on a U.S. tour, kicked off by the recent release of their third and latest album "If I'd Been Born an Eagle."

The album, an exploratory work-in-progress, developed after the Tuvan musicians traveled throughout their native land examining the different nuances and intricacies of each region musicial dialects. This album then provides a medium to bridge the two worlds of Tuvan music -- the classical "khoomei and traditional Tuvan musical styles.

The new recording includes Sergei Starostin, a Russian folk musician who play an instrument similar to one used in Tuvan music. The kalinka is a Russian instrument which is akin to the shoor, a wooden flute of the Tuvan people.

"We're trying to preserve our musical heritage, but at the same time, we're trying to look forward," Alexander Bapa, a member of the ensemble, said.

An informal discussion, titled "An Animist View of the World: Music, Sound and Nature in Tuva" will procede the concert. The spotlight discussion will be lead by Assistant Professor of Music Ted Levin at 7 p.m. in the Hopkins Center Faculty Lounge.

Levin served as the executive producer for the Tuvan singers latest release.

Admission to Huun-Huur-Tu is $23.50 for reserved seats and $7.50 for Dartmouth students.

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