Tuva is a predominately rural region of Russia located northwest of Mongolia. It is home to one of the world's oldest forms of music. In Xöömei, or "throat-singing," a single vocalist simultaneously produces two distinct pitches-a fundamental note and, high above it, a series of articulated harmonies that are sequenced into melodies. The Tuvan herder/hunter lifestyle with its great reliance on the natural world and deeply-felt connection to the landscape is reflected in the Tuvan vocal tradition. With throat-singing Tuvans recreate the sounds of their natural surroundings—animals, mountains, streams, and the harsh winds of the steppe. Examples of this unique and moving vocal tradition are featured here.
2012 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings