Meet the Tuvan Beatles!
Meet the Tuvan Beatles!

Roll Over Eddie Vedder and Give Scott Stapp the News: Real-deal Tuvan Throat-Singers at Zanzibar!

If you thought Eddie Vedder invented throat-singing--well, think again. Traditional throat singers Huun Huur Tu "come from the former Soviet Autonomous Republic of Tuva, a sparsely settled region of grasslands, boreal forests, and mountain ridges" situated north of Mongolia. Their indigenous music "highlights rare instruments and preserves what is arguably some of the world's oldest form of music making," including the best known genre of Tuvan music, xöömei (throat-singing).

Huun Huur Tu have just released Eternal, a collaboration with electronic musician & record producer Carmen Rizzo. Critical praise has been consistent for this album (Eno's world-beat experiments have been invoked), including this bonkers gem from the SF Bay Guardian: "The Tuvans will ride into your brain and leave hoofprints up and down your spine"! (they apparently mean this in a good way).

Hot on the heels of a free showcase last Sunday at Amoeba, Huun Huur Tu will be presenting the new material tonight at Zanzibar. Bring a spine-guard just in case.

From the well-informed Time review of Eternal:

To those who have heard of it, the autonomous Russian republic of Tuva is chiefly known for three things: its colorful and highly collectible stamps, its rugged terrain (this was the place chosen by fly-fishing Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the backdrop for a much ridiculed series of photos in which he appeared shirtless and on horseback) and its khoomei, or throat singing. In characteristically paranoid fashion, the Soviets regarded khoomei as subversive, and spent 50 years attempting to suppress it, but this ancient folk music proved considerably more resilient than the U.S.S.R. and thrives today -- a favorite on the world-music festival circuit and on the CD players of fashionable, Eastern spas.

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