ILM's 2005 collaborative mix project hoonja-doonja!

August 30, 2005

Huun Huur-Tu - Aa Shuu De Kei-oo (live)

Wiggling eastwards from Mumbai, and jiggling a little northwards, we now find ourselves nestling on the border between Mongolia and Siberia, deep in the heart of the Republic of Tuva (Тыва Республика). Maybe we're on the banks of one of the republic's 8000 rivers? Or maybe we're on horseback, thundering across the steppes? Since many Tuvan songs concern themselves directly with equestrian matters, then I guess it's probably the latter.

Think of Tuva, and naturally you'll think of Khoomei: the country's indigenous folk music, with its instantly recognisable brand of throat singing. Along with the altogether rockier Yat-Kha, Huun Huur-Tu - here recorded live, about three or four years ago - are the music's best known ambassadors. This track features Khoomei's most distinctive characteristic: that low, almost mechanical drone, with its multiple harmonics, as produced and sustained by a circular breathing technique which, notoriously, can shave several years off one's life expectancy.

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