Kongar-ool Ondar

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Kongar-ool Ondar
Ондар Коңгар-оол
Kongar-ol Ondar.jpg
Ondar in 1993
Background information
Born(1962-03-29)29 March 1962
Near the Khemchik River, Tuvan ASSR, Soviet Union (now Tuva, Russia)
Died25 July 2013(2013-07-25) (aged 51)
Kyzyl, Tuva, Russia
GenresTuvan throat singing
InstrumentsDoshpuluur, Igil, Chanzy
Years active1980 - 2013
LabelsWarner Bros. Records
Kongar-ool Borisovich Ondar

Kongar-ool Borisovich Ondar (Tuvan: Ондар Коңгар-оол Борис оглу, Ondar Konggar-ool Boris oglu, [ɔnˈdɑr kɔŋˈɡɑrɔːɮ bɐˈris ɔˈɡlu], Russian: Конгар-оол Борисович Ондар; 29 March 1962 – 25 July 2013) was a master Soviet and Russian Tuvan throat singer and a member of the Great Khural of Tuva. Ondar was born near the Khemchik River in western Tuva, in the village of Iyme. In the Central Asian tradition of self-fulfilling child naming, Kongar-ool literally translates to "loud boy." In 1983 Ondar was drafted into the army, but was discharged due to a neck injury.[1] After, he served several years in prison in Siberia. In 1992, after his release, Ondar won an international throat-singing contest, which brought invitations to perform in Europe and the United States and began his singing career.[2]

Considered a living treasure by the Republic of Tuva, Ondar was granted a stipend and an apartment for the musical skills he possessed. Jovial and personable, Ondar is probably the best-known face of khöömei (Tuvan: хөөмей) throat singing to Westerners, appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman, the Oscar-nominated documentary Genghis Blues, and in interviews for CNN and other networks. Ondar was also a teacher and opened a Center for the Development of Tuvan Traditional Arts in Kyzyl.[3]

Ondar is also known outside Tuva for inviting American blues musician Paul Pena to Tuva. Pena, who had learned throat singing before coming to Tuva, was the subject of the documentary Genghis Blues in which Ondar was also featured.[2] In 1993, he performed at Frank Zappa's eclectic "garden party/soiree" gathering in his last days.[4]

Kongar-ool Borisovich Ondar in his homeland of Tuva

He also appears on the Béla Fleck and the Flecktones albums Outbound, album/DVD Live at the Quick, and Jingle All the Way.[5] He released one album on Warner Bros. Records, Back Tuva Future.

His first studio album, 1996's Echoes of Tuva, was released by the TuvaMuch Music label. He released another album sampling physicist Richard Feynman titled Tuva Talk.[6]

He died after emergency surgery for a brain hemorrhage in Kyzyl on July 25, 2013. He was 51 years old.[7]


  1. ^ Тува-Онлайн 667001, И. А.; Россия; Кызыл, город; Кравченко, улица Щетинкина и. "Kongar-ool Ondar has a son". Tuva-Online (in Russian). Retrieved 2021-01-02.
  2. ^ a b Woo, Elaine (August 10, 2013), "Kongar-ol Ondar, master of Tuvan throat singing, dies at 51", The Los Angeles Times
  3. ^ Тува-Онлайн 667001, И. А.; Россия; Кызыл, город; Кравченко, улица Щетинкина и. "Center for development of traditional Tuvan culture summarized its first year". Tuva-Online (in Russian). Retrieved 2021-01-02.
  4. ^ Frank Zappa - Salad Party Home Video Feb 15th 1993, archived from the original on 2021-12-21
  5. ^ Béla Fleck and the Flecktones album Live at the Quick at AllMusic.com
  6. ^ "Friends of Tuva". www.fotuva.org. Retrieved 2021-03-08.
  7. ^ "Reuters Entertainment: Tuvan throat singer Kongar-ol Ondar dies at 51". Reuters. 2013-07-25. Archived from the original on 2013-08-04. Retrieved 2021-06-11.

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