What is Tuva? What do you know about Tuva?
“Tuva is strong wide rivers” – one would say. “Tuva is magnificent landscapes” – others would reply. But Andy Bauer, a young musician from Colorado state, the USA, conquers: “Tuva is a motherland of khoomei, Albert Khuvesin himself comes from there”. World community would not know anything about existence of this small republic if not traditional Tuvan throat singing. It is taught here from the childhood. Andy’s acquaintance with this wonderful country of talents started from Albert Khuvesin’s concert in America. In far 2002 he with his friends-musicians wandered to the concert of legendary Tuvan band “Yat-Kha” and its soloist Albert Khuvesin and fell in love to these unusual sounds. Uniqueness of this art is in fantastic capacity of performer to produce simultaneously two music notes of different height, thus constructing a peculiar two-voice solo, which magnified Andy. 12 years passed since then and Andy achieved unprecedented success in his self-realization. Not only he managed to visit Tuva, but also learn a keen technique of this unusual art and enjoy the results of his many years long efforts. Beginning musician many times successfully held solo concerts of Tuvan throat singing in America. This April he managed to organize in Beijing an international conference on khoomei and invite the most celebrated experts from Tuva. So bravely the young man experiments around the world thus promoting in East and West that Tuva is the motherland of throat singing.
Andy’s case is one of multiple examples showing that khoomei causes a huge interest and delight if other nationalities representatives. Its vocal art rooting into antiquity, which has already become a brand of Tuva, is extremely popular around the world and is a subject of examination by may Tuvan and foreign researchers.
Tuvan throat singing has been developed during hundreds of years to the highest performance techniques. It is a fundamental principle of all national Tuvan culture. Throat singing is a product of musical and poetic spirit of the nation. For Tuvans it is determined by unlimited love to nature and animals, because it was born among nomads who were spending most of their time in the open air. That is why the source of inspiration for ancient throat singers was the nature. Value and beauty of a sound was defined by the ability to reflect sounds of nature and voices of animals not only by imitation, but also by penetration to its essence. Some researchers dare to suppose that choomei is a way of communication with Universe. It expands the state of consciousness and connects man with space of Universe.
Skillful Tuvan throat singing performers, like story-tellers, are keepers of national music treasures, they are respected among all social layers and groups.
According to researchers, Tuvan throat singing – khoomei – differs noticeably from such art of Altay people, Buryats and Mongols, first of all, by big variety of styles. Traditionally five basic styles are assigned: khargyraa, khoomei, sygyt, borbannadyr, ezengileer.
“If listen to throat singing with eyes shut, it is impossible to imagine that these sounds are produced by live man, not a musical instrument” – admits a correspondent of Krasnoyarsk newspaper who visited the festival of live music and faith “Ustuu-Khuree”.
Nature gifted nomads of Central Asia by a unique talent. Khoomei performance cheers the spirit, develops attention, heightens live tone, releases from depression and sense of loneliness, releases inner power, relieves soul from negativeness and suppression. As you can see, throat singing heals the person.
Tuvan throat singing is not just an art. It is a symbol of nation spirit. As Zoia Kyrgys, director of “Khoomei” International research center, claims:
“From ancient times throat singing helped not to brake, not to lose dignity and keep humanity ”