Yes, sure, there's something like 2,000 years' worth of history informing the art of the throat singers of the Mongolian, Siberian, and, since 1921, Tuvan regions of Central Asia - fine, you're right. Now get back in the basement and stop harshing our groovy. You see, thanks to Albert Kuvezin and the band Yat-Kha, this deep cultural tradition has been solidly plopped into post-modernity, and FUN!
OK, a teensy bit of background: Tuvan throat-singers, such as the longstanding WFMU faves Huun-Huur-Tu and Sainkho Namtchylak, have long fascinated Western ears with their ability to sing multiple (and audible) harmonic overtones at once. Oftentimes, their khoomei resemble the drone produced by that cornerstone of your more advanced hippie jam-circle, the didgeridoo. And very often, their tones feature a distinct bird-like whistle. You want to know more? The web's full of it, go see - we've got some recontextualizing to do.
Here at WFMU, it takes a more refined novelty song to get us horny. Song parodies and funny voices tickle us not. But did you say "what would Perez Prado sound like playing Nirvana songs?"?? Talk to me, brother! And really, who can resist this utterly choice nugget:
And there we are. Say, while we're at it, maybe throw in some Zeppelin? Hey, make it topical - "When the Levee Breaks".(Realaudio from Ken's show) Now We Are Talking! And here comes the aforementioned Albert and his Yat-Khas, and they've got us covered with their new album "Re-Covers" - a collection of... yessssss, fave rock hits done in the Tuvan style!!
You know the Inuits? Those eskimo people up north that Ken likes so much? They've got a tradition of throat-singing too. Though mostly they're about gamesmanship, and you're not going to hear them riffing a mean "The Man Machine" (Realaudio from my show) anytime soon. But they're throat-singing, so they're in the continuum. And thanks to Albert Kuvezin and Yat-Kha, we can see that road more clearly, and may readily note some formerly unlikely precedents to this Throat Singing jive:
Billy "Froggy" Laughlin, of the Little Rascals / Our Gang comedies
Popeye (wav link)
Or maybe you respect tradition and history - fine, look below the fold and receive rich musical rewards.
Some fine Realaudio examples from the WFMU Archives:
And some mp3s for you:
- Aldyn Ool Sevek "Demonstration of Kargyraa"
- Kargyraa is one vocal style of khoomei
- Shaktar Shulban - "Demonstration of Sygyt and Kargyraa"
- So's Sygyt, and this kid's like 11 years old.