Performance in Tyumen, 28th october 2012
|Genres||Throat singing, folk music|
|Years active||Since 1992|
|Past members||Albert Kuvezin
The most distinctive characteristic of Huun Huur Tu's music is throat singing, in which the singers sing both the note (drone) and the drone's overtone(s), thus producing two or three notes simultaneously. The overtone may sound like a flute, whistle or bird, but is actually solely a product of the human voice.
The group primarily uses native Tuvan instruments such as the igil, khomus (Tuvan jaw harp), doshpuluur, and dünggür (shaman drum). However, in recent years, the group has begun to selectively incorporate western instruments, such as the guitar. While the thrust of Huun Huur Tu's music is fundamentally indigenous Tuvan folk music, they also experiment with incorporating not only Western instruments, but electronic music as well.
The khöömei quartet Kungurtuk was founded in 1992 by Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, brothers Alexander and Sayan Bapa, and Albert Kuvezin. Not long afterwards, the group changed its name to Huun-Huur-Tu, meaning "sunbeams" (literally "sun propeller"). The focus of their music was traditional Tuvan folk songs, frequently featuring imagery of the Tuvan steppe or of horses.
The ensemble released its first album, 60 Horses In My Herd, the following year. The album was recorded at studios in London and Mill Valley, California. By the time recording began for the follow-up, Kuvezin had left the group to form the more rock-oriented Yat-Kha. Kuvezin was replaced by Anatoli Kuular, who had previously worked with Khovalyg and Kongar-ool Ondar as part of the Tuva Ensemble. The new line-up recorded The Orphan's Lament in New York City and Moscow, and released it in 1994.
In 1995, Alexander Bapa, who had produced the first two albums, departed the group to pursue production as a full-time career. He was replaced by Alexei Saryglar, formerly a member of the Russian state ensemble Siberian Souvenir. A third album, If I'd Been Born An Eagle, recorded in the Netherlands, followed in 1997. This time, in addition to the traditional folk music, the group performed some rather more contemporary Tuvan songs, from the latter half of the 20th century.
In early 1999, the group released its fourth album, Where Young Grass Grows. For the first time on a Huun-Huur-Tu album, non-Tuvan instruments (except for the guitar) were featured, including harp, tabla, Scottish smallpipe (performed by Martyn Bennett) and synthesiser. The album also features two excerpts of recordings made of Kaigal-ool and Anatoli singing whilst riding horseback on the Tuvan grasslands.
Huun-Huur-Tu participated in the 2000 BBC Music Live event, performing the opening and closing songs for a live, early morning broadcast from Snape Maltings. The following year, the group released their first live album.
In 2003, Kuular quit the group and was replaced by Andrey Mongush, an experienced teacher of xöömei and Tuvan instruments. Mongush's tenure with the group was short and in 2005 he was replaced by Radick Tyulyush, formerly of Yat-Kha fame.
Since the group's inception, Huun Huur Tu has collaborated with musicians from many genres, such as Frank Zappa, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, the Kodo drummers, The Moscow Art Trio, the Kronos Quartet, Hazmat Modine, The Chieftains and Bulgarian women's singing group, Angelite. Their most recent recording "Eternal" is a collaborative effort with underground electronic musician, Carmen Rizzo. In January 2010, group Hazmat Modine also announced plans to record with Huun Huur Tu again.
- 60 Horses In My Herd (1993)
- The Orphan's Lament (1994)
- If I'd Been Born An Eagle (1997)
- Where Young Grass Grows (1999)
- Live 1 (2001)
- Live 2 (2001)
- Best * Live (2001)
- More Live (2003)
- Altai Sayan Tandy-Uula (2004)
- Live at Fantasy Studios (2008)†
With Kronos Quartet
- Early Music (Lachrymae Antiquae) (1997)
- Fly, Fly My Sadness (1996)
- Mountain Tale (1998)
- Spirits from Tuva (2003)
With Hazmat Modine
- Bahamut (2007)
With Sainkho Namtchylak
- Mother-Earth! Father-Sky! (2008)
With Ross Daly
- The White Dragon (2008)
With Carmen Rizzo
- Eternal (2009)
- "Ancestors Calling" (2010)
† Live at Fantasy Studios was initially available as an online podcast only. Now the video recording is available for download at several sites. The setlist includes several staples, such as "Chiraa-Khoor", "Konggurey", "Ösküs Bodum (The Orphan's Lament)" and "Aa-Shuu-Dekei-Oo".
- "Leading and Being Guided", Tuvaonline, March, 2007.
- Huun Huur Tu profile at the BBC
- "Huun Huur Tu and Carmen Rizzo", NPR's the World, January 5, 2010.
- Huun Huur Tu at Amazon.com
- "Huun-Huur-Tu and Hazmat Modine in Unique Collaboration at Symphony Space", World Music Central, November 1, 2007.
- "Steppe It Up", TIME, October 26, 2009.
- Friends of Tuva
- "Deep the Heart of Tuva" article, March 1997.
- Kongar-ool Ondar's Homepage
- "Singing Stories, in 2 Tones at Once" article, NY Times, January 18,1993.
- Huun Huur Tu's MySpace page
- Washington Post Article "Tuvan Throat-Singers Perform Feats of Harmonic Acrobatic" January 15, 1996.
- Huun Huur Tu: National Geographic World Music bio
- "Throat Singers of Tuva Return to Eastman" January 11, 2006.
- "Huun Huur Tu - Throat Singers of Tuva" Rootsworld, 2002.
- "Huun Huur Tu Throat Singers" University of Hawaii, February 2008.
- Huun-Huur-Tu official site -seems to be defunct now
- Greek television advertisement featuring "Eki Attar" from The Orphan's Lament
- Directory of high-resolution photographs of the group
- Huun-Huur-Tu discography at MusicBrainz
- Huun-Huur-Tu on On Point Radio, Aired January 13, 2006
- BBC Radio Awards for World Music, 2004
- Huun-Huur-Tu: Music Refracting Sunlight (Russia-IC.com article)
- Huun-Huur-Tu captivates audience with Tuvan music, October 2007
- Huun Huur Tu streaming videos
- Huun Huur Tu on Youtube
- Rare video footage of Andrey Mongush performing xoomei with Huun Huur Tu
- Interview with Sayan Bapa, "Huun-Huur-Tu Interview" Kodo Beat, Autumn, 1999.
- "Tuvan vocalists impress students" Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 12, 2004
- "Throat singers capture sounds of central Asia" Mail Tribune, October 2006.
- "Videoclip - All one - Odugen Taiga (Mother Taiga)"