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Throat Singing

June 15, 2013

We were in the parade of the opening ceremonies for the Throat Singing Festival last night. I have some video that I can post when I get home, but let me just tell you that it was so weird to be in a parade just because we were from the US, when we came to learn about Tuvan culture!

We have been so lucky to be connected to Sean Quirk, an American who lives here and manages Allash, one of the finest Tuvan Throat Singing groups. They actually won a Grammy for some work they did with Bela Fleck. They were kind enough to give our group a private session where they taught us about the different styles of throat singing, demonstrating them and teaching us what they represent. This made the competition we watched today much more meaningful. it is an amazing art form that represents so much of their culture and history as well as their geography.

I was thrilled today to see some women compete. We saw women play instruments and sing at the concert at the National Theater last night. It is not exactly “okay” for women to throat sing, though some women are obviously doing it (quite well in some cases). There were also competitors from Inner Mongolia, China, Japan, and the US. I don’t know when the winners will be announced but I am assuming we will find out. I definitely picked out 3 performers who I thought stood out, but I don’t know much.

I am all out of order, not only on this post, but on the blog in general. I have not wanted to be in my hotel room on my computer when I could be experiencing Tuva, so I am just trying to catch up in whatever order I can. We have had a couple of really late nights so I haven’t been able to stay up and write like I would like to.

I will get the chance to catch up while we are at the yurt camp. We will be there for 3 days and then take an overnight train to our next destination. Since there won’t be electricity, I suppose I will have to write the old-fashioned way once the iPad battery gives out.

Our experiences in Tuva have set a really high standard for the rest of the trip. It is hard to believe that we have been gone less than a week. I hope that while we are at the yurt camp we will have an opportunity to discuss and digest some of the things we have learned and experienced. My blog posts don’t even begin to cover it.


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