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alt.culture.tuva FAQ Version 1.41 [1 of 1]

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Archive-name: tuva-faq
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 1999/05/18
Version: 1.41

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Anyone wishing to take a shot at improving this should go ahead and send
the edited section along to me <>.  Thanks to
Bernard Greenberg [BSG] for his numerous additions and edits and to
Bernard Dubriel [BD], Alan Shrives [AS], Kevin Williams [KW], Albert
Kuvezin [AK], Dr Oliver Corff [OC], Mike Vande Bunt [MVB], Ralph
Leighton [RL], Masahiko Todoriki, and Alan Leighton.

Alt.culture.tuva FAQ Version 1.41 (May 18, 1999)

Table of Contents:

  1:  How can I get a copy of this Frequently Asked Questions list?
  2.  Are there any WWW sites for Tuva?
  3:  What is Tuva?
  4:  What is all the fuss about?
  5:  How can I contact X in Tuva?
  6:  What's this about two voices from one singer?
  7:  Where can I find out more? (Friends of Tuva)
  8:  Any recommended reading about Tuva?
  9:  Any recommended reading about Feynman?
  10: Are audio recordings available?
  11: Are there any video tapes about Tuva?
  12: Does anyone still collect the old Tuvan stamps?
  13: What can you tell me about travel to Tuva?
  14: How can I learn to sing khoomei?
  15: How did the "Tannu" get into "Tannu Tuva"?

Questions and Answers:

1:  How can I get a copy of this Frequently Asked Questions list?
A:  You're reading it, aren't you?  :-) Save it!  The FAQ is posted
    monthly to the Usenet newsgroup alt.culture.tuva.  The latest
    version is also available online at the Friends of Tuva WWW site
    (see below for the location).

2.  Are there any WWW sites for Tuva?
A:  Try the Friends of Tuva site at

    This has all of the old Friends of Tuva Newsletters, along with all
    kinds of neat stuff like the HTML version of this FAQ and numerous

    Other recommended sites are:

    Michael Connor's Tuvan rafting trip site at
    featuring photos from a rafting trip to Tuva in the summer of 1995.

    Connie Mueller-Goedecke's Tuva pages at
    featuring extensive info on Sainkho, Biosintes,  the Shaman
    Exhibition, and electronic postcards from Tuva at

3:  What is Tuva?
A:  The Republic of Tuva is the former Tannu Tuva, a country in south
    Siberia absorbed by the former USSR in 1944.  Tuva was at one time
    an oblast of Russia, and then the Tuvinskaya ASSR, and is now a
    member of the Russian Federation.

    Tuva is arguably in the centre of Asia, nestled just north of
    Mongolia between the Sayan mountains in the north and the Tannu Ola
    mountains in the south, with an area of 171,300 square kilometres,
    somewhat larger than England and Wales.  Tuva lies between 89
    degrees and 100 degrees east longitude, and 49 and 53 degrees north

    Tuva's population is 308,000 (about 64 percent Tuvan and about 32
    percent Russian).  The capital city of Kyzyl (pronounced stressing
    the second syllable) (population 75,000) lies at the confluence
    of two major forks of the Yenisei River.

    Tuva was known under its Mongol name of Uriankhai until 1922 and
    deserves interest for the fact that it was twice annexed by Russia
    within 30 years without the world paying the slightest attention.
    The first annexation came in 1914 when when Russia proclaimed Tuva a
    protectorate of Russia, and the second time was in 1944 when the
    People's Republic of Tuva was transformed into an administrative
    unit of the USSR.

    Since 1992 the Republic of Tuva has been a member of the Russian
    Federation, but this does not imply a large degree of independence
    from Russia.  As one would expect of a Russian republic, the working
    language in the capital and other larger centres is Russian, but in
    the countryside and in less formal situations the working language
    is Tuvan.  The Tuvan language is closely related to certain ancient
    languages (Old Oghuz and Old Uighur) and modern ones (Karagas and
    Yakut).  Tuvan belongs to the Uighur group of Turkic languages,
    forming a special Old Oghuz subgroup with Old Oghuz, Old Uighur, and

    The ethnic composition of the Tuvan people is complex, comprising
    several Turkic groups, as well as Mongol, Samoyed, and Ket elements,
    assimilated in a Turkic-speaking element.  These ethnic traits
    (Mongol, Samoyed, Ket elements) also apply to the language.  There
    are many Mongol loan words in Tuvan, and many words having to do
    with modern Western culture has been borrowed from Russian.  The
    Turkic elements are common to the Tuvan, Altai, Khakas, and Karagas

4:  What is all the fuss about?
A:  In 1977 Nobel Laureate (Physics) and raconteur Richard Feynman asked
    "What ever happened to Tannu Tuva?"  One of his friends, Ralph
    Leighton, helped Feynman turn their search for information on this
    country into a real adventure, as explained in Leighton's book "Tuva
    or Bust".  Feynman's interest originated in the 1930's when Tuva, in
    a philatelic orgy, issued many oddball stamps memorable for their
    shapes (diamonds and triangles) as well as their scenery (men on
    camels racing a train, a man on horseback with a dirigible above
    him, and so on).

    When they looked Tuva up in the atlas, they saw that the capital was
    Kyzyl, and decided that any place with a name like that must be
    interesting!  They also soon found out that a monument near Kyzyl
    marked the centre of Asia, and that some Tuvans sang with 2 voices -
    one voice usually a lower drone and the second voice a high pitched
    flute-like sound, both from the same person.  This information
    piqued their curiosity and things snowballed.

5:  How can I contact X in Tuva?
A:  If you have additional addresses to share, please send them in.

    The Lyceum in Kyzyl can be reached at:
     16 Lenina Street,
     667001 Kyzyl, Republic of Tuva, Russian Federation
     tel: (39422) 3-65-30

     The Lyceum's students have made the first Tuvinian web-wite in
     Russian at:

    Khoomei scholar Dr. Zoya Kyrgys can be reached at:
     Director, International Scientific Center "Khoomei,"
     46 Shchetinkin-Kravchenko Street,
     667000 Kyzyl, Republic of Tuva, Russian Federation
     Fax:  (7) 394-22 3-67-22.

    Anyone in Kyzyl can be FAXed at:
     Kyzyl Business Center:
     011-7-39422 36722
    Keep in mind that the recipient has to pay a fee to pick up the FAX.

6:  What's this about two voices from one singer?
A:  It's called ``khoomei'', or throat singing, and numerous CD's are
    available.  This is not unique to Tuva - singers come from Mongolia
    as well, and the Tantric Gyuto Monks of Tibet (now living in India),
    also practice this two-note singing in their chanting.  They also
    have several recordings available.

7:  Where can I find out more (Friends of Tuva)?

A:  Friends of Tuva is an organization headquartered in Tiburon,
    California, founded and run by Ralph Leighton.  It is a central
    clearing-house for information about Tuva and Tuva-related

    The FoT newsletter is no longer available by mail, but is available
    only on the WWW at the FoT site (see elsewhere in this FAQ for the

    FoT also has a variety of wonderful things for sale, including many
    of the recordings and videos listed here (recordings, books, maps,
    etc.).  The goods are very reasonably priced, and anyone seeking to
    learn more about current news related to Tuva would do well to
    browse through the back issues of the newsletters available on the

    Friends of Tuva can be reached at:

      Friends of Tuva
      Box 182,
      Belvedere, CA 94920, USA
      phone or FAX (415) 789-1177

8:  Any recommended reading about Tuva?
A:  Send your suggestions.  Here's what I've found.

    1 - Tuva or Bust!
        Ralph Leighton.
        W.W. Norton, 1991.

        The canonical work.  Describes Feynman and Leighton's
        decade-long struggle to reach Tuva.  Semi-related works are
        ``Surely You're Joking, Mr.  Feynman!'' and ``What Do You Care
        What Other People Think?'', both by Richard Feynman (with Ralph

    2 - Journey to Tuva

        Otto Ma"nchen-Helfen, extensively annotated and translated from
        German to English by Alan Leighton.
        Ethnographics Press, University of Southern California, 1931/1992

        Available from Friends of Tuva.  A great book detailing the
        visit of a Westerner in 1929.  Contains an appendix about
        present day Tuva and a map.

    3 - Nomads of Eurasia
        Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
        University of Washington Press, 1989.

        This book accompanied the museum exhibit "Nomads:  Masters of
        the Eurasian Steppe" in 1989-1990.  Great pictures and text.

    4 - Nomads of South Siberia
        Sevyan Vainshtein, translated by Michael Colenso
        Cambridge University Press, 1980.

        Wow.  The detail is impressive as the author examines Tuvan
        nomadic life.

    5 - In Search of Genghis Khan
        Tim Severin, Arrow Books, 1992.

        The author joins a horseback expedition to trace the steps of
        Genghis Khan from Mongolia to Europe in 1990.  An intriguing
        foray into the life of the modern Mongolian nomad, with many
        details that may frighten prospective visitors to the region.

    7 - The Peoples of the Soviet Far East
        Walter Kolarz, published by Frederick Praeger of New York, 1954.

    8 - The Tuvan Manual
        John Krueger, available from the Mongolia Society, 322 Goodbody Hall
        Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.

        An indispensable work that includes a primer on the area and
        culture, lessons on how to read and speak Tuvan, a Tuvan to
        English glossary, and several samples of Tuvan text.  An
        extremely valuable book that is worth double the price (about
        $20).  A word of caution; the only Tuvan I know to have seen the
        book commented that "no one uses those words anymore".

    9 - Ancient Traditions: Shamanism in Central Asia and the Americas
        Edited by Gary Seaman and Jane S. Day.
        Published by the Denver Museum of Natural History and the
        University Press of Colorado, 1994.

        Based on the proceedings from ``Nomads:  Masters of the Eurasian
        Steppe,'' Volume 4 of the Soviet-American academic symposia in
        conjunction with the museum exhibitions.  The one chapter
        devoted to Tuvan shamanism is by Russian ethnographer Vera P.

   10 - The Lost Country: Mongolia Revealed
        Jasper Becker.
        Hodder & Stoughton, 1992.
        ISBN: 0-340-57978-1

        Written by the Asia correspondent of the Guardian newspaper, who
        visited Mongolia and surrounding countries several times in
        1989-90.  Includes are chapters on Buryatia and Tuva.  Plenty of
        personal observation as well as background history.

   11 - The Last Disco In Outer Mongolia
        Nick Middleton.
        Onon, 1992.
        ISBN: 1-85799-012-9

        About the travel experiences of a British student who visited
        Mongolia in 1987 and 1990.  He observes the changes that have
        taken place between his two visits.

   12 - Recherche experimentale sur le chant diphonique
        Hugo Zemp and Tran Quang Hai.
        Cahier de Musique traditionnelle,
        4,p27-68,Atelier d'ethnomusicologie,
        Geneve, 1991.

        The most thorough analysis of Tuvan, Tibetan, Mongol and Altai
        styles.  Plenty of sound spectra representing excerpts from a
        variety of songs, including cuts from the Smithsonian Folkways CD. [BD]

   13 - Structural, aerodynamic and spectral characteristics of imitated
        Tibetan chanting.
        Aliaa Ali Khir, M.D. and Diane M.Bless, Ph.D.
        Proceedings of the 21st symposium of The Voice Foundation.
        Philadelphia, June 1992.

        A study on ``the underlying physiological adjustments of this
        unique phonetary mode''.  For those with high interests in
        acoustic and physiological details.  The subject under study was
        an American male, not a Tibetan monk.  The study suggests
        aphonic patients may benefit from Tibetan chanting, as it
        requires minimal mean flow rates.  It quotes and agrees with
        previous authors (Smith, Stevens, Tomlinson 1967), that Tibetan
        style may be due to ``two modes of oscillations, one at the
        normal frequency and another at some ``ill-defined'' low
        frequency that synchronized to every pulse of the higher
        frequency''.  It rules out glottal fry as the source of the low
        note, which I believe is an error.  [BD]

   14 - Sons multiphoniques aux instruments a vent
        Michele Castellango
        Rapport IRCAM, 34|82.
        Paris, France.

        Wind instruments, not just voices, can play multiple sounds.
        The trombone, the flute, the oboe, bassoon and bass clarinet are
        examined in that respect.  Defined as :  ``l'entretien d'un son
        stable percu comme un accord'', multiphonic instrumental
        emissions are compared to vocal overtone singing.  ``Si l'on
        renforce l'intensite de certaines harmoniques, ceux-ci peuvent
        etre percu isolement et former une melodie independante.  A un
        instant donne, on percoit alors deux hauteurs.  C'est le cas du
        chant diphonique, de la guinbarde et de l'arc musical ou l'on a
        dailleurs souvent deux ou trois melodies formantiques en

        N.B In previous years, Michele Castellango and Trang Quang Hai
        have worked together on a number of occasions, trying to pin
        down the nature of biphonic singing.  [BD]

   14 - Theorie physiologique de la musique
        Hermann von Helmholtz
        Editions Jacques Gabay
        Paris, 1990.

        The Bible of acoustics and music, from the well known 19th
        century Heidelberg university professor.  First edition in
        French:  1868.

        When we sing overtones, we behave as Helmholtz resonators,
        amplifying certain harmonics in the note we sing.  We do so by
        slightly changing the volume of air contained in our vocal tract
        or by changing the surface of the aperture of our mouth.
        Helmholtz shows us that in matters of resonance, there are no
        other variables at play than volume of air and surface of

        Following up on Helmhotz I hypothesized that whenever three
        notes were distinctly heard in a given style (i.e.  Kaigal-ool
        Khovalyg singing in khoomei style) one was amplified using the
        tongue as a means to vary the volume of air, one was amplified
        using the aperture of the mouth.  Both field observations of
        professional Tuvan singers and personal practice seem to verify
        this. [BD]

   15 - Tuvan Folk Music
        A.N. Aksenov
        Asian Music IV, 1973

        I've been unable to confirm the existence of this book, or even
        find out what language it has been published in.  It was listed
        as one of several books being auctioned by a specialist in
        antique books.

   16 - The Choomij of Mongolia: a Spectral Analysis of Overtone Singing
        R. Walcot
        Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology 2, 1974

   17 - The Land In The Heart Of Asia
        Vladimir Semenov and Marina Kilunovskaia
        Bronze Horseman Literary Agency (1995)
        70-52 Olcott Street
        Forest Hills, NY  11375

        $22, 112 pages, 72 color illustrations.  Bronze Age, Neolithic,
        and Scythian artifacts from excavations in Tuva.

   18 - Unknown Mongolia:  A Record of Travel and Exploration in
        North-West Mongolia and Dzungaria
        Douglas Carruthers 
        Hutchinson & Co., 1914.

        ``Unknown Mongolia'' is an enormous two-volume tome based on
         British geographer Douglas Carruthers' 20-month journey and
         mapping expedition through what is now Tuva and Mongolia.  The
         first volume is almost all about Tuva.  Carruthers was
         literally charting uncharted territory.  The stated intent of
         the journey was as a geographic expedition.  Carruthers set out
         to map the territory and investigate its geology, flora and
         fauna.  The result is a fascinating and highly informative
         account, written in the somewhat overblown, erudite manner
         typical of the aristocrats who were members of the Royal
         Geographic Society.

         Despite his understandably "Orientalist" approach, Carruthers
         for the most part manages to avoid the judgmental condescension
         of many other British explorers.  His account of the indigenous
         people and their ways of life is sensitive and respectful, and
         his painstaking attention to detail is rendered more with
         refreshing candor and wide-eyed wonder than with the bored
         skepticism of some of the other British travel accounts of the
         period.  It's informative, entertaining, readable, and full of
         vivid geographic and ethnographic detail.  [Review by Brian

   19 - Open Lands: Travels Through Russia's Once Forbidden Places
        Mark Taplin
        Steerforth Press, 1998, ISBN 1-883642-87-6

	In 1992, when the doors to formerly forbidden areas of the
	Soviet Union were opened, Taplin visited seven newly accessible
	cities and regions.  One chapter is devoted to Tuva; the
	chapter is an interesting read, the highlight being his run-in
	with Mongush Kenin-Lopsang.  Taplin has an eye for detail and
	provides generous descriptions of the situations he's
	encountered; his Tuvan chapter doesn't include much on aspects
	of Tuvan tradition or day-to-day life but does provide much
	insight on the legacies of the Soviet system.

9:  Any recommended reading about Feynman?
A:  Send your suggestions.  Here's what I've found.

    1 - Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
        Richard Feynman, as told to Ralph Leighton
        W.W. Norton, 1985. Paperback by Bantam Books, ISBN 0-553-34668-7.

        Another canonical work.  Sometimes inspirational, sometimes
        educational, always amusing.  I can't praise this book highly
        enough to do it justice.

    2 - What Do *You* Care What Other People Think?
        Richard Feynman, as told to Ralph Leighton
        W.W. Norton, 1988. Paperback by Bantam Books, ISBN 0-553-34784-5.

        In a way, "What Do You Care" fills in the holes that "Surely
        You're Joking" left unexplored.  Some stories are light hearted,
        while others are somewhat tragic.  The second half of the book
        details Feynman's work with the Rogers Commission.  Highly

    3 - QED - The Strange Theory of Light and Matter
        Richard Feynman
        Princeton University Press, 1985.

        Quantum electrodynamics explained for the generalist.  Will the
        reader understand modern physics after reading this book?  No,
        but not to worry (as explained on page 9).  The clearest and
        most concise explanation of the subject available.

    4 - The Feynman Lectures on Physics
        Richard Feynman, Robert Leighton, Matthew Sands
        Addison-Wesley, 1963.

        This legendary three-volume set established the precedent of
        "Feynman talks, Leighton writes".  Fascinating lectures
        delivered with insight usually not presented to undergraduate

    5 - Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman
        James Gleick
        Pantheon Books, 1992.  Paperback by Vintage/Random House,
        1993, ISBN 0-679-74704-4.

        Gleick is a thorough researcher; the bibliography is formidable.
        His writing does not convey the same friendly charm of Feynman's
        narrated stories, but the different viewpoint will be of
        interest to the completist.

    6 - No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated Richard Feynman
        Christopher Sykes
        W.W. Norton, 1994.

        Great book.  Ralph Leighton describes it as a get-together at a
        home where Feynman is the main topic of conversation, and
        Feynman shows up to tell his version of events.

    7 - SIX EASY PIECES: Essentials of Physics Explained by its Most
        Brilliant Teacher
        Richard P. Feynman
        Addison-Wesley and the Caltech Archives, 1994.

        Six Lectures from The Feynman Lectures on Physics, with
        accompanying audio on CD or cassette.

    8 - The Art of Richard P. Feynman : Images By a Curious Character
        Compiled by Michelle Feynman
        G+B Science Publishers SA, G+B Arts International
        ISBN 2-88449-047-7

        173 pages with 92 full page black and white images and 7 colour
        plates by Feynman the artist.  Accompanying the images are 57
        pages of commentary and reminiscences, some of which has been
        printed before (``But Is It Art?'' from ``Surely You're
        Joking'') and some of which is new.  Particularly interesting
        are the contributions from the wonderful Albert Hibbs and from
        Michelle Feynman.  A great book for the enthusiast.

    9 - The Beat of A Different Drum:  The Life and Science of
        Richard Feynman
        Jagdish Mehra
        Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1994
        ISBN 0-19-853948-7 (cloth)

        According to the book jacket, Feynman in 1980 requested that
        Mehra ``do what he had already done for Heisenberg, Pauli, and
        Dirac, that is write a definitive account of his life, science
        and personality.'' Mehra, who had known Feynman personally for
        30 years, readily agreed.

   10 - Richard Feynman - A Life In Science
        John Gribbin and Mary Gribbin
        Dutton, published by the Penguin Group, 1997
        ISBN 0-525-94124-X (hardcover)

        The book attempts to capture both the essence of Feynman's 
        scientific works and the essence of his `curious character'
        in one book, and succeeds to a good degree.  The scientific
        explanations are well-explained in an interesting manner, and
        the anecdotes are always engaging.  This may be of the most
        interests to the reader who has not already enjoyed
        other books featuring stories from Feynman's life, since there
        is inevitably some duplication between books, but even the
        seasoned reader will find something new here.

   11 - Most of the Good Stuff - Memories of Richard Feynman
        Laurie M. Brown and John S. Rigden, editors
        American Institute of Physics, 1993
        ISBN 0-88318-870-8 (hardcover)

	One of the better books, this is a collection of reminiscences
	and anecdotes from colleagues and friends, organized around the
	impact he made through his scientific work, through his
	teaching, and through his personality.  Several of the pieces
	appeared in the February 1989 issue of `Physics Today' but are
	not reprinted elsewhere.

10: Are audio recordings available?

A:  I'm glad you asked.  Long gone are the days when Tuvan (and other
    central Asian) music was difficult to find; the enthusiast now has a
    wonderful array of offerings to choose from.  Of course, not all of
    these recordings are available in every store, but we've tried to
    supply all the information needed to place a special order.  of
    course, if you're not certain of what you want, you can always ask
    in Usenet newsgroup alt.culture.tuva.

    1 - Tuva: Voices From The Center Of Asia.
        Smithsonian Folkways CD SF 40017
        Distributed by Rounder Records, Cambridge MA.

        33 tracks, 41'50, featuring numerous performers recorded in Tuva
        by Ted Levin, Eduard Alexeev, Zoya Kirgiz.  Khoomei, jew's harp,
        sigit, animal imitations.  Excellent, scholarly, musicological
        liner notes.

    2 - Tuva: Voices from the Land of the Eagles
        Pan Records CD 2005CD
        P.O. Box 155, 2300 AD Leiden, Netherlands

        11 tracks, 46'46, khomus, tyzani, igil, amirga, toshpular.
        Features Kongar-ool Ondar, Kaigal-ool Khovalig, Gennadi Tumat,
        all soloists of the folk ensemble Tuva.  Recorded February 23,
        1991.  Excellent liner notes.

    3 - Voix de l'Orient Sovietique
        Inedit W 260008
        Maison des Cultures Du Monde , Paris 

        Only one Khoomei track, but it is supposedly very good.  Other
        tracks from other Soviet (now CIS) central Asian republics.  [I
        don't have this one - Kerry]

    4 - Mongolian Folk Music
        Selected from the 1967 year's collection by Lajos Vargyas.
        Hungaroton HCD 18013-14
        [I don't have this one - Kerry]

    5 - Mongolie- Musique vocale et instrumentale
        Inedit W 460009
        [I don't have this one - Kerry]

    6 - Sainkho Namtchylak - Lost Rivers
        Free Music Productions FMP CD 42
        Postbox 100 227, 1000 Berlin 10, Germany

        Solo voice.  Avante garde singing, with some polyphonic singing.
        13 tracks, 74'18.

    7 - Sainkho Namtchylak - When the Sun Is Out You Don't See Stars
        Free Music Productions FMP CD 38

        With Peter Kowald (bass), Werner Ludi (saxes), Butch Morris
        (cornet).  20 tracks, 72,50, less avante garde than Lost Rivers.

    8 - Sainkho Namtchylak - Out Of Tuva
        Cramworld/Crammed Discs CD CRAW6
        Released 1993.
        Recorded between 1986 and 1993 in Kyzyl, Moscow, Wuppertal,
        Paris, and Brussels.

        Mostly pop songs incorporating traditional folklore and some
        traditional techniques, the liner notes explain that these are
        recordings that Sainkho had made with no plans to release them.
        Muscovite Artemy Troitsky thought that they should be released
        and put them on this disk, along with three new songs.

        The songs are generally less esoteric than other Sainkho works
        and they are far more accessible to the casual listener.  The
        featured instrument is her voice, and the accompaniment varies
        from somewhat bare percussion to a large orchestra to
        synthesized washes.  I like this disc more than the other
        Sainkho ones I've heard, and if I were to recommend a first
        Sainkho album to newcomers, this would be it.

        As an added bonus, the insert artwork is pretty good; the cover
        is a stunning photo of Sainkho's face and shoulders superimposed
        in front of a bright blur of colour.  The liner notes are good
        but too brief; only some of the songs have accompanying notes
        listing the details of the recording.  13 Tracks, total length

    9 - Sainkho Namtchylak - Letters
        Leo CD 190.

    10- Tuva: Echoes from the Spirit World
        Pan Records CD 2013CD

        17 tracks, 61'38, khomus, tyzani, igil, amirga, toshpular,
        dambiraa, bell, kengirge, byzaanchy, limbi, buree, savag, tung,
        tenchak, khirilee.  Features 11 performers, includes recordings
        made on tour in 1992 as well as older recordings from Soviet
        radio (1973, 1983, 1986).  Superlative liner notes explaining
        many ideas and terms.

    11- Ozum (Sprouts): Young Voices of Ancient Tuva
        Window to Europe CD sum 90 008
        Jodenbreestraat 24, 1011 NK, Amsterdam, Netherlands

        A Dutch-Russian release from Otkun Dostai, Oolak Ondar, and
        Stanislav Iril, three young Tuvan musicians who have built on
        the traditional style.  A strong album that I really like.
        Oolak Ondar (b.  1973) was the winner at the throat singing
        symposium (1991, Kyzyl) in sygyt style.  Khoomei, khomus,
        acoustic guitar, and shaman drum.  13 tracks, 42'34.

    12- Mongolian Songs
        King Record Co CD KICC 5133
        2-12-13 Otowa Bunkyo-ku Tokyo 112 Japan

        Part of King's World Music Library, this is a Japanese import
        with almost no English in the package.  7 performers, 19 songs,
        54'52.  The men's khoomei is very good, the women's takes some
        getting used to.

    13- Mongolian Epic Song (Zhangar)
        King Record Co CD KICC 5136
        2-12-13 Otowa Bunkyo-ku Tokyo 112 Japan

        Male vocal with instrumental accompaniment.  Short and long

    14- Mongolian Morin Khuur Ci Bulag
        King Record Co CD KICC 5135
        Sentimental horse-head fiddle solos.

    15- Morin Khuur Ci Bulag
        JVC World Sounds, VICG-5212
        More Sentimental horse-head fiddle solos.

    16- Mongolie Ensemble Mandukhai
        Playa Sound, PS 65115
        Large variety with some khoomei.

    17- Mongolie Chants Kazakh et tradition epique de l'Ouest
        Ocora - Radio France, C 580051

        25 songs, with tobsuur accompaniment, recorded in Mongolia in
        1984 and 1990.  Twenty songs of Kazakh music, some of it
        actually danceable!  Minimal khoomei, although the voices do
        make good use of changing timbres.  The final five songs are
        labelled ``epic tradition of the West'' and the lyrics are
        fragments of lengthy epic songs.

    18- Huun-Huur-Tu: Sixty Horses In My Herd - Old Songs and Tunes of Tuva
        Shanachie Records CD SH 64050 CD/MC
        37 E. Clinton St., Newton NJ 40017

        Master khoomigch Kaigal-ool Khovalyg and his new group, which
        has toured all over the US.  12 tracks of all natures of
        top-notch khoomei, other singing, igil (Tuvan viol) playing.
        Its being studio-produced, which although lending a slight
        inauthenticity, makes for an eminently listenable album.  Decent
        liner notes and text.  [BSG]

    19- Uzlyau: Guttural Singing of the People of the Sayan, Altai, and
                Ural Mountains (1993)
        PAN 2019CD (PAN Records Ethnic Series)

        37 recordings from Russian archives form a catalog of all known
        styles of overtone singing from Tuva (12), Altai (2), and
        Baskhiria (23), collected, produced, (partially) recorded, and
        documented in encyclopaedic, scholarly liner notes by Vyacheslav
        Shchurov.  Studio and field recordings, featuring master
        khoomigch Oorzhak Khunashtaar-ool in some awesome 1977
        performances recored by Radio Moscow.  Some doshpuluur and
        khomus, but almost all vocal.  Some absolute knockout kargyraa.
        A must.  [BSG]

    20- Tales of Tuva

        Kira Van Deusen recites three Tuvan stories (in English) with
        musical accompaniment by Kongar-ool Ondar, Kaigal-ool Khovalyg,
        and Anatoli Kuular.

    21- Shu-De: Voices from the Distant Steppe
        Realworld/WOMAD Productions (Real World Records Ltd)
        (In US): Carol 2339-2
        Caroline Records, Inc
        111 West 26th St.,
        New York NY 10001

        16 tracks by the Tuvan ensemble Shu-De (M.  Mongush, L.
        Oorzhak, N.  Shoigu, B.  Salchak, O.  Kuular), including all
        varieties of khoomei, igil, doshpuluur, & limbi (flute) playing,
        plus a wide variety of styles from Buddhist Chant to Tuvan
        tongue twisters to Western-style choral harmony.  A shamanic
        ritual ends out the CD.  A magnificent kargyraa cut by Leonid
        Oorzhak is a highlight.  Eminently listenable.  (Spring 1994).
        Weak liner notes.  [BSG]

    22- Tuvinian Singers & Musicians:  Khoomei:  Throat-Singing from the
        Center of Asia.  Volume 21 of the World Network series, a
        coproduction from WDR (West-deutscher Rundfunk - a major TV and
        radio station in Germany) and World Network.  Distributed in
        Germany via Zweitausendeins Versand, Postfach, D-60381
        Frankfurt.  Order Number 55838.

        16 tracks (total playing time:  64' 01"), partially recorded in
        Cologne in April 1993 and in Tuva in September 1992.  Performers
        include Schaktar Schulban, a 10 year old boy, the 18 year-olds
        Ondar Mongun-Ool and Bujan Dondak, and the Tuva Ensemble,
        founded in 1988 by Gennadi Tumat, Oleg Kuular, Stas Danmaa and
        Alexander Salchak.

        This CD can be warmly recommended to all lovers of Tuvinian
        music.  The music presented is a well performed collection of
        authentic vocal and instrumental pieces.  Since all pieces are
        strictly traditional this CD cannot be compared to the
        performance by e.g.  Sainkho.  Track no.  9, performed by the
        unusually young artist Schaktar Schulban, reveals the enormous
        talent of this promising singer.

        The CD is very interesting because next to the overview of
        singing styles the listener is also introduced to a
        representative spectrum of instrumental music.  [OC]

    23- Tuvinski Folklore
        Melodiya Stereo 33 C60-14937-42
        1981, Out of print.

        This three LP set features a total of 65 tracks, most of which
        are khoomei, and instrumental music.  One entire disk (both
        sides) is devoted to two tracks, each over 24 minutes long, of
        byzanchi playing.  There are also several tracks of story
        telling, and a few of the musical numbers are repeated with
        variations or in slightly different styles.

        The Melodiya record that Feynman had is apparently unavailable,
        although the vaults of recording agencies in the former USSR
        have been opened to interested entrepreneurs.  Latest reports
        say that the masters have been lost.

    24- Kronos Quartet: Night Prayers
        Elektra Nonesuch CD 2 79346
        Distributed by Warner Music.

        One track on this CD, "Kongerei", features Kaigal-ool Khovalyg,
        Anatoly Kuular, and Kongar-ool Ondar singing along to the
        accompaniment of the Quartet (2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello).
        This new version is interesting in it's approach to a
        traditional Tuvan song with modern Western instruments.

    25- Yat-Kha
        General Records GR 90-202 (Moscow), 1993

        Albert Kuvezin (throat-singing and instruments yat-kha,
        byzanchi, organs, khomus, percussion & gongs) and Ivan Sokolovski
        (keyboards, computers, cello, drums & percussions, noises).
        Kuvezin is a founding member of the group Huun-Huur-Tu, living
        in Moscow, who specializes in his own style of kargyraa,
        extremely low-pitched singing with artificial subharmonics.  In
        this hour of 13 tracks, he exploits this awesome and
        rarely-heard technique, combining it with techno-pop backup
        sounds (and a token amount of traditional singing/playing) to
        produce a thoroughly unique, avant-garde offering which has the
        power to grow on you.  Deliberately obscure liner notes [BSG].

        Here is some news from Yat-Kha from August of 1995:
        Eki ergim eshter! (Hello dear friends)

        I would like to inform you about some news of the Yat-Kha band.
        We are right now recording a new album at the Global Mobile
        studio in Helsinki under the roof (and rules) of Anu Laakkonen.
        The album presents our new style:  "Yenisei kargyrapunk".  The
        participating musicians in this projects are:  Alexei/vocal,
        tungur, igil; myself/kargyra & guitars; Evgeniy/percussions,
        Kari/sound & drinks; Anu/sauna; Mikko/cooks & drinks;
        Akym/phonecontrol.  The CD will be released by Global Music
        Centre soon.  Start saving now!  We will give the account
        details later. [AK]

    26- Huun-Huur-Tu (with Mergen Mongush): Orphan's Lament
        Shanachie Records 64058

        A work of well-produced art, contemporary offerings in
        traditional Tuvan styles, not an ethnomusicological assay.  Its
        16 pieces in styles varying from unison Kargyraa chants to
        political songs to khomus ("Jews' harp") solos provide a
        tour-de-force of Tuvan styles designed for listening pleasure
        and wonderment.  Master khoomigch Kaigal-ool Khovalyg's deeply
        touching igil (Tuvan viol) playing is (as on "60 Horses") a real
        highlight of the album.  His frequent vocal solos in all styles,
        and those of the sweet-voiced Anatoli Kuular, joined by Mergen
        Mongush for one sygyt cut, help place this album among the two
        or three "must-have"'s for anyone who *enjoys* authentic Tuvan
        music.  [BSG]

    27- Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Geronimo, An American Legend
        Columbia CD CK 57760

        Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, Anatoly Kuular, and Sayan Bapa sing and
        play on six of the seventeen tracks.  The Tuvans make a
        significant contribution to the soundtrack and share writing
        credits on some songs.  This CD is not a "must-have" for the
        traditionalist but is interesting.  The CD seems to have a
        higher Tuvan content than was actually heard in the movie.

        Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, Anatoly Kuular, and Sayan Bapa sing and
        play on six of the seventeen tracks.  The Tuvans make a
        significant contribution to the soundtrack and share writing
        credits on some songs.  This CD is not a "must-have" for the
        traditionalist but is interesting.  The CD seems to have a
        higher Tuvan content than was actually heard in the movie.

    28- The ReR Quarterly, Volume 4, Number 1 (ReR 0401)

        The ReR Quarterly is a sort of audio magazine dedicated to weird
        and experimental music.  The first track on this issue is
        "Koongoortoog," whom we know today as Huun-Huur-Tu.  Most of the
        rest of the CD is significantly modernist abstract composition
        or alienated rock music.

        This old traditional song was recorded in 1991 in Moscow when
        the Koongoortug band consisted of only Albert Kuvezin and
        Alexander Bappa.  On this song Mr. Kuvezin sang and played all
        the instruments (yat-kha, fretless bass, drum machine, buddhist
        percussion) except shell by Mr. Bappa.  Arrangement was done by
        Mr. Kuvezin.  The studio time was purchased by Mr. Bappa.
        This tape was given to Chris Cutler in London.  The picture and
        the information was mistakingly taken from the first CD of Huun
        Huur Tu.  ReR Megacorp is reachable at 74 Tulse Hill, London SW2
        2PT, England, or distributed in the USA by Wayside Music, PO Box
        8427, Silver Spring MD 20907.  (Source: [AK], Alexei Saaia, Anu
        Laakkonen, Akym (AAAA Club))

    29- Whistling In the Temple: Harmonic Voices
        Simone Records, 412 East Ellis Ave., Inglewood, CA 90302.
        In the USA, call 1-800-300-3315 for info.

        Most songs have overtone singing and other cultural references
        such as instrumentation and source material which refer to Tuvan
        lifestyle.  It is a hybrid recording, but not in a pop type
        manner such as Sainko.  I did enjoy the music and gist of the
        material immensely.  [KW]

    30- Jeff Lorber: West Side Stories
        Polygram Records, distributed by Verve Records, 314 523 738-2.

        Kongar-ool Ondar sings on one track, ``Tuva'', five minutes
        long.  He sings two themes (the old favourite, ``Alash River''
        and another, about the Tuvan forests), and Lorber has built a
        song around them.  The music is not traditional, or a facsimile
        (for example, the Kronos Quartet blended their instruments well
        with the Tuvan themes on their Tuvan song) but is funky light
        jazz played mainly on synthesizers.  An added bonus:  in the
        liner notes Lorber mentions that he made his studio available to
        Kongar-ool to record an album for release in Tuva.

    31- Biosintez
        Lava Productions.
        23705 Vanowen St., suite 123,
        West Hills, CA 91307,   USA.
        E-Mail: LAVAUSA@AOL.COM

        Tuvan music played on modern rock instruments.  Unreviewed.

    32- Kongar-ool Ondar - Echoes of Tuva, 1995.

        This recording is a solo recording by Kongar-ool Ondar, made in
        the picturesque old city hall of Pasadena, California.  The
        building's natural reverberance is used to great effect and
        gives the recordings a very natural lively feel.

        The recording opens with traditional songs done impeccably, but
        it is the more modern-sounding songs that are most interesting.
        Also striking is the prayer for Richard Feynman, a song
        featuring only voice and drum.

        The recording is available directly from Friends of Tuva, Box
        182, Belvedere CA 94920.

    33- The Legend of Tannu Uriangkhai
        Published by The Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission, 4th
        Floor, #5, Shu-Chow Road, Taipei, Republic of China.
        Produced by the Typhoon Music Co, director Lee Hou-kou. 

        A book and CD combination in Chinese and English, with
        references, the CD is excellent [Not reviewed by me - KY].

    34- Khomus: Jew's Harp Music of the Turkic Peoples in the Urals,
        Siberia, and Central Asia.
        Pan Records CD PAN 2032CD
        P.O. Box 155, 2300 AD Leiden, Netherlands
        Phone: (+31-71)219479  fax: (+31-71)226869

        While only one track (out of 33) is from Tuva, this is an
        excellent survey of khomus music of the Turkic speaking peoples.
        Excellent liner notes, including repeated mention of Tuva and a
        Tuvan folk tale regarding the origin of the khomus.  Very
        listenable if you like khomus (very twangy if you don't like
        khomus...)  with most of the songs being complete, though fairly
        short.  Music is from Gorno-Altai, Kyrgyzstan, Tuva,
        Bashkortostan, and Yakutia.  There is surprising variety in the
        music from this simple instrument.

        Here are the details on the Tuvan track (#5):  ``BAYAN KOL and
        BISTING TYVA (Our Tuva).  Also found on LP Melodiya 14937 #1 and
        #10.  Many folk musicians do not perform on the stage but rather
        prefer to play in a natural environment, like the Tuvan herdsman
        Khunashtaar-ool Oorzhak playing temir khomus''.  Total time:
        66'03.  [MVB]

    35- Khoomei 92 - WTE Tapes 004
        Window to Europe
        Jodenbreestraat 24, 1011 NK, Amsterdam, Netherlands
        tel +31-20-6245747
        fax +31-20-6203570

        Though I have not heard this one myself it comes highly
        recommended by a friend in Amsterdam.  It is a tape (presumably
        also on CD) from the first International Symposium on Throat
        Singing in Kyzyl, June 1992.  [MVB]

    36- Planet Soup
        Produced by Ellipsis Arts, 20 Lumber Rd., Roslyn, NY 11576,
        (800) 788-6670, FAX:  (516) 621-2750.

        This illustrated book (48 pages) and three compact discs (or
        cassette) includes one song (1:51 minutes), ``Genghis Blues:
        The Ballad of Cher Shimjer (What You Talkin' About?)'' featuring
        Paul Pena, (vocals, guitars, kargyraa vocals); Kongar-ool Ondar
        (sygyt vocal, khomus) and; ``C.T.'' and Rusty Gunn (backing

        There's also an interesting track by Bolot Bairyshev, from Altay
        in Mongolia (this track is originally from ``Voice of Asia 2'').

    37- Jon Rose: Violin Music For Supermarkets
        Megaphone Records, Megaphone 016 (CD), released 1994.

        Sainkho Namtchylak appears on track 11, ``Shopping In Tuva''

    38- Yat-Kha: Yenisei-punk
        Global Music Centre GMCD 9504, Finland, 1995.
        Duration: 56:31
        Contact: e-mail:, (Finnish) or (English)

        TRACKS: Solun chaagai sovet churtum (Beautiful Soviet Country)
                Karangailyg kara hovaa (In the endless black steppe)
                Kaa-khem (Name of the river)
                Kuu-la khashtyn baaryndan (At the foot of a mountain)
                Kamgalanyr kuzhu-daa bar (We have protection force)
                Irik chuduk (Rotten log)
                Chashpy-khem (Name of a river)
                Kadarchy (Shepherd boy)
                Chok-la kizhi yry (Song of a poor lonely)
                Een kurug kagban-na men I didn't leave my yurt empty)
                Toorugtub taiga (Cedar taiga)

        If Michael Gira would have been born in Tuva, this is how the
        Swans would sound, I guess.  All the instruments but the
        electric guitar are ethnic Tuvan, but I have the impression
        they're not as lively and diversified as with Huun-Huur-Tu.
        Also, the throat singing is quite threatening in a monotonous
        way, but not as breath-taking and crazy as with Huun-Huur-Tu.
        Although many of the songs are about nature, this CD sounds very
        dark and gloomy, hence the "punk" title; not the Sex Pistols
        kind of punk, more like Joy Division.

        Every song on its own is an impressive listening experience, but
        maybe there isn't enough variation to make the whole CD
        interesting enough.  Luckily, some songs have accompanying extra

        The last track is more than 10 minutes long, and is not really a
        song, more the singer showing of his low throat voice, which
        only rarely gets the "vacuum cleaner" sound effect.  Conclusion:
        good, but not essential exotica stuff.  [Reviewed by Johan Dada Vis

    39- Deep In the Heart of Tuva - Cowboy Music From the Wild East
        Ellipsis Arts CD4080, ISBN 1-55961-324-6
        64 page book, 60+ minute CD

        This recent release comes with a well-produced booklet full of
        information (interviews, khoomei details, liner notes, etc.)
        and superb photos.  The music is a sampler of a wide variety of
        performers and styles.  This release sets a new standard for
        Tuvan music production.

    40- Huun-Huur-Tu: If I'd Been Born An Eagle
        Shanachie Records

        "If I'd Been Born An Eagle" explores a possible past with the
        addition of an end-blown flute, an instrument of other Turkic
        mountain peoples, which may once have been played in Tuva.  Once
        you hear it along with the other Tuvan instruments, you'll
        wonder why the Tuvans ever gave it up!  This CD is a worthy
        addition to the other two by HHT. [RL]

    41- Huun-Huur-Tu and Angelite: Fly, Fly My Sadness

        Recorded in Bulgaria with the women's choir Angelite (formerly
        called Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares), this CD is definitely
        meditative stuff --- not quite my style, but certainly an
        interesting mixture of distinctive musical traditions. [RL]

    42- Vershki da Koreshki
        Al Sur CD ALCD 204, 1996.
        15, rue des Goulvents, 92000 Nanterre, France,
        Telephone (33) 01 41 20 90 50.

        9 tracks, 56'08.
          Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, voice, khoomei, igil, khomus
          Mola Sylla, vocals, kongoma, xalam, kalimba
          Alexei Levin, accordian, piano, khomus, kongoma
          Vladimir Volkov, double bass
          Paco Diedhjou, sauruba

        This album features one musician from Tuva, two from Senegal,
        and two from Saint Petersburg.  The musicians blend their styles
        and genres to form an interesting and attractive result;
        although similar experiments haven't always worked well in the
        past, in this case it does.

        The accordian and the double bass complement, rather than steer,
        the other instruments.  The addition of the rich sounding double
        bass to Tuvan melodies is quite satisfying.  The African and
        Tuvan musical elements are not as disparate as one might expect;
        this is more a testimony to the talents and to the calibre of
        the musicians than to any similarities inherent in the cultures.

    43- Chirgilchin: The Wolf and the Kid
        Shanachie CD 64070
        16 tracks, 1996.
          Ondar Mongun-ool, throat-singer
          Aidysmaa Kandan, singer
          Tamdyn Aldar, instruments
          Produced by Alexander Bapa

        The 20-year old Tuvan performers sound great on this recording,
        and some listeners will already know Mongun-Ool from a sygyt cut
        on the World Network CD ``Choomeij:  Throat-Singing From the
        Center of Asia''.  Mongun-Ool is one of the greatest
        sygyt-singers, but he masters other styles as well. [Review by
        Sami Jansson.]

    44- Big Sky: Standing On This Earth
        Skysong Productions, inc., SPCD1001, 1997
        P.O. Box 11755, Minneapolis, MN, 55412
        12 tracks, total time 55:57

        Big Sky features alt.culture.tuva contributor Steve Sklar on
        guitar and vocals, and on one song on this CD, "Siberia", he
        uses his his formidable kargyraa and sygyt to great effect.  Not
        a Tuvan CD, but one with some Tuvan influence; it is mostly
        upbeat (in outlook as well as tempo) pop/rock with a bright,
        wide-open, spacious sound reminiscent of Tuva's wide open

       Big Sky themselves are on the WWW at URL
       and Steve Sklar has a khoomei page at URL

    45- Ondar & Pena: Genghis Blues
        TuvaMuch Records, 1997,
        c/o Friends of Tuva
        12 tracks, total time 53:54
        Available from Friends of Tuva.

        A collaboration between Tuva's Kongar-ol Ondar and occasional
        alt.culture.tuva contributor Paul ``Earthquake'' Pena, this CD
        successfully blends the traditions of Tuvan music with those of
        American blues.

        Several of the songs are traditional, but the original songs by
        Pena are the attraction:  the first track, ``What You Talkin'
        About?'', is a killer and is worth the price of the CD by
        itself.  This Bo Diddley-style tour de force recounts how Pena
        began his journey to Tuva and his journey into khoomei.

        Other highlights are the notable ``Kargyraa Moan'', a song that
        helped win Paul Pena first prize in the kargyraa competition at
        the 1995 Khoomei Symposium in Kyzyl, as well as ``Tuva
        Farewell'', Pena's thoughts and insights about his visit to (and
        return from) Tuva.

    46- Tuvan Folk Music: It's Probably Windy In Ovyur...
        Long Arms Records & IMA-press, 1997, CDLA 9707
        29 tracks, total time 60:58

        This recording may be a landmark on the horizon of Tuvan music
        in that it was recorded in Tuva (October-November 1995) by
        Tuvans, for Tuvans.  This is a collection of songs by musicians
        from the Ovyur region (with the hope that compilations will be
        forthcoming for other regions) featuring aspects of singing that
        have been overlooked by foreign recordings, which have concerned
        themselves primarily with the various forms of khoomei.  Ovyur
        is a region southwest of Kyzyl, bordering on Mongolia.

        The music is wonderful and covers a wide range of styles;
        ballads, galloping songs, laments, patriotic fighting songs...
        and that's just the first four!  Various instruments are used,
        including igil, doshpulur, and khomus, along with the accordion,
        but many songs are vocal solos, by both women and men.  Words
        cannot do the CD justice; the performances are all very natural
        sounding and very clearly recorded.  This sounds like a
        performance sitting around the campfire or around the stove in
        the yurt, with no echo or effects added.  My favourite songs are
        the ones with the soaring melodies and quiet accordion

        The liner notes are primarily in Russian (I think; I can't see
        any Tuvan) with some translation into English.  The package and
        insert are well-crafted with flashy graphic arts and photos.
        Produced by Sainkho Namchylak and Otkun Dostai, this is a work
        to be proud of, and I hope to see more recordings in this vein.

    47- Kongar-ol Ondar: Back Tuva Future
        Warner Brothers Records CD9 47131-2

        11 tracks, 50'05.  Wow!  An interesting and adventurous
        experiment bringing together Kongar-ol Ondar's music and
        singing, recordings from Feynman and Leighton's drumming and
        storytelling days, and some excellent western musicians
        including Sam Bush, Randy Scruggs, and Victor Wooten.  Some of
        these tracks became instant favourites - the ones with the most
        propelling beat actually sound vaguely reminiscent of some
        Tuvan-Western fusion songs I heard on a cassette tape in a car
        on the road to Teeli.  Don't forget to look for the hidden

    48- Huun-Huur-Tu: Where Young Grass Grows
        Shanachie Records CD 66018

        15 tracks, 45'05.
        No review available yet.
          1 Ezir-Kara
          2 Anatoly On Horseback
          3 Deke-Jo
          4 Xöömeyimny Kagbasla Men (I will not abandon my xöömei)
          5 Avam Churtu Dugayimny (Dugai, the land of my mother)
          6 Dyngyldai
          7 Highland Tune
          8 Hayang (name of a hunter)
          9 Barlyk River
         10 Tarlaashkyn
         11 Interlude: Sayan playing khomus with water in his mouth
         12 Sarala
         13 Sagla Khadyn Turula Boor (It's probably windy on Sagly steppe)
         14 Ezertep-Le Bereyin Be (Do you want me to saddle you?)
         15 Live Recording: Anatoly and Kaigal-ool riding horses in Eleges
            while singing sygyt (Anatoly), kargyraa and xöömei (Kaigal-ool)

    49- Tuva, Among the Spirits: Sound, Music, and Nature in Sakha and Tuva
        Smithsonian Folkways CD SFW 40452

        19 tracks, 49'00, featuring numerous performers recorded in Tuva
        and Sakha by Ted Levin and Joel Gordon.  Excellent music with
        excellent scholarly, musicological liner notes.  To be reviewed

    50- Tarbagan: Tarbagan Rises On The Earth
        BooxBox Wolrd Wide Music CD BWM-A801

        14 tracks.  Japanese release featuring Haruhiko Saga and
        Masahiko Todoriki.

11: Are there any video tapes about Tuva?  
A:  Yes, there are.  Many of these are available from Friends of Tuva.

    1. The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

       A NOVA episode about Richard Feynman.  It, as well as "Fun to
       Imagine" and "Last Journey of a Genius" are about Feynman,
       although the set of Tuva-heads and the set of Feynman-fans has a
       large intersection.  FoT has a scheme through which the first two
       tapes may be rented in the USA; the third may be purchased.  Last
       winter the BBC aired a 2-part special on Feynman (sorry, no Tuva)
       that was whittled down to one episode for broadcast in the USA
       under the title "The Best Mind Since Einstein".  The longer
       English version is great.

    2. They Who Know: Shamans of Tuva

       A Belgian production in English featuring "45-snowy-I" Ondar

    3. Tuva TV

       Over 7 hours of broadcasts from Tuva TV, all in colour, with a
       written guide to describe the action.

    4. Tuvans Invade America

       Alt.culture.tuva's own Jeff Cook had a large hand in this
       informal documentary on the visit of 3 extraordinary Tuvan
       performers to California for the Rose Bowl Parade on January 1,
       1993.  (90 minutes, videotape)

    5. Lost Land of Tannu Tuva

       Another famous PBS show, narrated by Hal Holbrook.

    6. Throat Singing In Tuva

       This 30-minute documentary from the Tuvan Ministry of Culture (in
       English) features masters past, present, and future.  Historical
       footage from the 1950s shows Tuvans appearing in Moscow for the
       first time; contemporary scenes show Kongar-ool Ondar (pre
       shaved-head) and some of his students, including Bady-Dorzhu

    7. Tuva - Shamans and Spirits

       Tuva is the setting for the reemergence of ancient spiritual
       traditions after their near extinction under Soviet communist
       repression.  From the capital of Kyzyl to isolated nomadic yurtas
       in remote alpine mountains, the Tuvan people are rediscovering
       their indigenous Shamanic and Buddhist rituals and healing arts.
       A group from the West is invited to participate in the first
       public forum and display of previously forbidden practices.  A
       good insight into Tuva's recovering shamanism after years of
       Soviet repression as well as an interesting Tuva travelogue.

       Produced in conjunction with the 1993 visit of Foundation for
       Shamanic Studies members to Tuva, the documentary was completed
       in 1994 but was not available to the general public (non-members
       of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies) until 1996, which is a
       shame; I would recommend this to all those interested in
       spiritual life in modern Tuva.

       The documentary is great.  Filmed in Kyzyl, Todje, Chadaan, and
       elsewhere, it is a mini-travelogue of Tuva that showcases various
       landscapes of the country.  I would highly recommend this for
       anyone who wants to see for themselves what Tuva looks like
       (albeit on TV).

       The video interviews numerous practitioners and shows them at
       work, explaining the significance of their dress or actions.  The
       video is as realistic and life-like as can be expected without
       actually being there.  The shamans are open and willing to share
       their histories and their feelings about their work; a man who is
       both a Buddhist monk and a shaman provides a unique insight on
       Tuvan attitudes towards health and healing.

       55 minutes VHS videotape, completed 1996.
       $30US including tax, shipping, and handling within the USA.
       Contact: Tom Anderson, PO Box 1119, Point Reyes, CA 94956, USA.
       Fax (510) 649-9719, or call (510) 649-1485.

    8. Tuva - Two Short Videos

       Ben Lange ( has produced two short videos made
       during his two visits to Tuva; one is a general video of little
       more than 7 minutes about the beauty of Tuva, and the other is
       about a winter ceremony by a female shaman (also little over 7

       These videos have been shown at the Ethnographic Museum in
       Antwerp, Belgium, since October, 1997, and they are available for
       purchase from Oibibio, the new-age centre in Amsterdam.  The
       video is no available directly from the producer:
         NGN produkties 
         O.Ph.(Flip) Nagler 
         Korsjespoortsteeg 16 
         1015 AR Amsterdam 
         tel: +31 (0)20 638 2633 
         fax: +31 (0)20 638 9199 

       The video format is PAL (NTSC can be arranged for North
       Americans).  The price is 40 NLG (Dutch Guilders):  30 for the
       video and 10 postal charges.  Currently, this would be about
       US$20.  People can obtain a tape by sending a money order to the
       producer in Amsterdam, with the amount given above and with their
       name and address.  The tape will be mailed after receipt of the
       money order.  Eurocheques are also accepted.

12: Does anyone still collect the old Tuvan stamps?
A:  Yes, there is a group of stamp collectors devoted to the old
    diamond-shaped and triangular stamps of Tuva from the 1920's and
    1930's.  These stamps feature many fanciful images of people,
    animals, machinery, and nature (sometimes all on the same stamp!).

    You can contact them at the Tannu Touva Collectors Society:


    In North America:  Ken Simon, 513-6th Ave. S., Lake Worth, FL

    In Europe:         David Maddock, 49 Dinorben Ave., Fleet, Hants,
                       GU13 9SQ, UK

    In Asia:           Wilson Lin, No. 74 Section 1 Anhe Road, Annan
                       District, Taiwan City, Taiwan, 709 R.O.China

    In Pacific:        Bruce Grenville, P O Box 876, Auckland, New Zealand

    TTCS member Eric Slone has produced The Tuva Files, a Windows and
    Mac CD-ROM with philatelic information and other data.  The
    philatelic contents include high-resolution scans of Tuva's stamps
    (early and modern issues), postal cancels, postal stationary,
    covers, postcards, a collection of Tuvan philatelic literature
    featuring Blekhman's postal history of Tuva (in English) and more.
    The many other items of interest to Tuva-philes include Tuvan fonts,
    a nearly-complete archive of all posts to alt.culture.tuva, the
    contents of a few WWW sites, several maps, and more.  Contact the
    TTCS ( or Eric Slone ( for
    more information.

13: What can you tell me about travel to Tuva?


      BY AIR

      Some flight information is available online at 
      This includes data on the fabled and feared Yak-40 jet airliners.

      In Moscow in 1995 it was possible to purchase a ticket to Kyzyl
      for about $150 US (cheaper than a flight from Moscow to Abakan,
      which costs about $250 US).  As of February, 1998, the asking
      price according to Victor Akiphen is $500 US for the return

      The entity that used to be Aeroflot doesn't exist any more, and
      several smaller (more regional) airlines are filling in the
      holes; some even lease their planes from Aeroflot.  The Aeroflot
      in Kyzyl is a different company than the one in Moscow, and
      that's still a different company from the one in Montreal.

      Yak airlines flies once a week to and from Kyzyl, from Moscow.
      There are stops both ways in Omsk, lasting about 1.5 hours.
      Route 727 flies from Moscow to Kyzyl on Saturdays.  Route 728
      returns from Kyzyl to Moscow on Sundays.  The quoted price is
      $148.00 each way (please note:  in general, in Russia and the
      former Soviet Union, there is no such thing as a ``round trip
      rate''.  Round trip is simply twice the one-way rate.

      The Yak Flight Director, Victor Akiphen(r?), is a nice guy, a
      mountain climber, and speaks some English.  He can be reached in
      Moscow at 151-66-92 or 151-89-86, or by fax at 956-16-13, and
      will be happy to provide further info and assistance.  By the
      way, Yak's planes are OK, and the service is pretty decent by
      Russian standards.  If you contact Victor, please give him Steve
      Sklar's regards.

      As of November 1997, there were weekly flights from Moscow to
      Kyzyl on Sundays, leaving Vnukovo Airport (take Bus #511 from
      Metro Station "Yugo-Zapadnaya"), at 21:45 (9:45pm) on "Yak
      Service" flight IB 727, arriving in Kyzyl at 08:15 Monday
      mornings.  Flights from Kyzyl to Moscow are on Mondays at 12:25
      pm ("Yak Service" flight IB 728), arriving in Moscow at 14:45
      (2:25pm) Monday afternoons.  This is presumably the flight that
      previously departed Moscow Saturdays (listed above) and stopped
      at Omsk enroute to Kyzyl.

      As of April, 1999, Yak Service from Moscow Vnukovo to Kyzyl is
      now non-stop.  Current cost is supposedly 1500 roubles (cheap
      like borscht!).  Flights are still Sunday evening to Kyzyl,
      Monday morning to Moscow.

      Other flights are still available via Abakan.
      Khakkasia Airlines fly as follows to Moscow Domodedevo:

      Moscow to Abakan Wed, Fri, Sun, dep. 22:55, arr. 07:25  1450 roubles
      Abakan to Kyzyl  Mon, Wed, Fri, dep. 07:05, arr. 08:00   250 roubles

      Kyzyl to Abakan  Mon, Wed, Fri, dep. 08:40, arr. 09:30   250 roubles
      Abakan to Moscow Wed, Fri,      dep. 09:30, arr. 10:20  1450 roubles
                       Sun,           dep. 19:30, arr. 20:25  1450 roubles


      In Moscow, use the blue Aeroflot transit busses to go from any
      airport to the central Aerovokzal (Airstation) where you can
      either change to another bus to another airport, or get on the
      Metro (nearest is 'Aerport' station on the 'V. I. Lenin' - pale
      green - line).  The Aerovokzal is next to the Aeroflot hotel.

      Busses to and from Vnukovo cost 12 roubles plus 3 roubles for
      luggage, take 70 minutes and leave hourly between 06:10 and

      Busses to and from Sheremetevo cost 12 roubles, 3 roubles for
      luggage, take 45 minutes and leave every hour between 07:15 and

      Busses to and from Domodedevo take 1 hour 40 minutes, cost 18
      roubles plus 5 roubles for bags and leave hourly between 06:30
      and 22:30.


      From Novosibirsk, trains head south to Abakan where there are
      frequent buses to Kyzyl.  The bus between Abakan and Kyzyl takes
      about 7 hours and costs 85 roubles (as of April, 1999). Some
      prefer the daytime bus, not the overnight, to arrive in Tuva
      overland, and later leaving by air to get the morning bird's eye
      view.  Be warned, the bus ride looks long and challenging.


    Bring lots of new bills.  Outside of Moscow and a few other large,
    western Russian cities, they don't accept American Express.  Or
    Visa.  Or traveller's checks.  Or anything.  You must have 1990 or
    newer dollars, preferably very new, and they must be unwrinkled,
    untorn and unmarked if you don't want difficulties.

    Although the exchange rate in Kyzyl is theoretically higher than in
    Moscow, exchange your money in Moscow.  Kyzyl's banks may have no
    roubles to exchange.  The exchange rate on the street in Moscow is
    better than that in the bank in Kyzyl or via official channels in
    Moscow, but be careful.

    As of the summer of 1998, there is an ATM in Kyzyl - in one bank
    only, for now.  It is in a main street backyard establishment (ask
    for it, in front of OVIR and Bank of Tuva).  It works with Visa


    Buy your maps in your home country, or in Moscow.  Topographical
    maps are hard to come by in Tuva.  When you meet people along the
    road and in villages, you will be proud to show off with your
    1:1 000 000 scale map from the US Defence Mapping Agency.

    The Lonely Planet guidebook for Russia is has seven pages on Tuva
    (seven among 1200) but they are useful and include a map of Kyzyl.

    Some experienced travellers are now leading tours into Tuva.  We
    can not give first-hand recommendations for anyone, but we will
    not list anyone who has not already travelled into Tuva.

      Gary Wintz
      626 Santa Monica Bl.
      Santa Monica CA 90401

      Sasha Lebedev
      An independent guide who has worked with Catapult Adventures for 6


    You don't need to have Kyzyl listed on your visa any more, but it is
    advisable and will generate less hassle.

    There is a classical process to obtain a visa in order to travel
    freely through all Russia.  The classical process makes it almost
    impossible to travel there independently and without personal
    invitation.  The Lonely Planet guide for Russia has a section on
    visas.  This section is very complicated but details the best
    (quickest) way to get a visa - this has worked for some
    correspondents but be warned that there is some question as to
    whether this approach is completely legal.

    Patience and flexibility are the greatest of virtues.  Practice the
    mantra ``we will wait, and we will see''.

14: How can I learn to sing khoomei?
A:  It's not easy; the best singers begin their training before they can
    walk.  However, it's not impossible to learn later.

    - Dan Bennett has volunteered his advice, reproduced below.

    - Steve Sklar has some online instructions at

    - I also recommend an excellent pamphlet, "Khoomei - How To's and
      Why's" by Michael Emory, PO Box 648, Westbury, NY, USA, 11590.
      Michael's illustrations, while not exactly helpful, are fantastic.
      His text is quite useful.

    - Teachers are available for seminars or workshops in North America.
      Paul Pena and Steve Sklar are both reachable online and are
      willing to travel to teach.

    The absolute best advice was offered by Ralph Leighton, namely,
    listen to masters and imitate.

  How to Sing Khoomei (by Dan Bennett,

  Khoomei is easiest for men.  I *have* heard a recording of a Mongolian
  Kazakh women singing khoomei, but it's simply not so easy or
  spectacular, because of the higher pitch of the female voice.
  (Sainkho Namchylak can sing khoomei too.)

  1. Sing a steady note while saying "aah" (to start with).  Pitch it in
     the middle of your range, where you can give it plenty of energy,
     i.e.  - Sing it loudly.

  2. Aim to make the sound as bright - not to say *brash* - as you can.
     The more energy there is in the harmonics, the louder and clearer
     they'll be when you start singing khoomei.  Practise this for a

  3. OK, with this as a basis for the sound generation, you've got to
     arrange your mouth to become a highly resonant acoustic filter.  My
     style (self-taught, but verified for me by a professional
     Mongolian khoomei singer I had a lesson with in Ulaanbaatar) is as

     Divide the mouth into two similar-sized compartments by raising
     your tongue so that it meets the roof of your mouth, a bit like
     you're saying "L".  Spread your tongue a bit so that it makes a
     seal all the way round.  At this point, you won't be able to pass
     air through your mouth.  Then (my technique), break the seal on the
     left (or right) side of the mouth, simply to provide a route for
     the air to get through.

     Then (here's the most difficult bit to describe over the net - or
     even in person, for that matter!), push your lips forward a bit,
     and by carefully (and intuitively) adjusting the position of your
     lips, tongue, cheeks, jaw, etc, you can sing Mongolian khoomei!

     Put it this way:  the *aim* of the khoomei singer ("khoomigch") is
     to emphasize ONE of the harmonics which are already present in the
     sound generated by the throat.  This is achieved because he is
     forming a resonant cavity, which (a) is tuned to the chosen
     harmonic (overtone), and (b) has a high resonance, or "Q" factor.
     By adjusting the geometry and tension of your mouth you can choose
     which harmonic you're emphasizing, and thus sing a tune.

15: How did the "Tannu" get into "Tannu Tuva"?
A:  Several Mongolians and the band Ozum were asked about the word
    "Tannu"; they did not know the word or its source.  Mongolians and
    Tuvans both answered "it may not be Tannu, it must be Tangdy".
    They opined that it must be a Tuvan term; it is certainly not
    Mongolian.  Their guess is that Tangdy is the word printed on some
    maps as "Tannu-Ola" (in Tuvan dictionaries this appears as "Tangdy
    cyny" or "Tangdy-Uula").  As you may know, tangdy (ta"ng"dy) means
    "high mountain" or "taiga surrounded by high mountain" in Tuvan.

    Here is some supporting information, mainly from a book by S.  A.
    Shoizhelov (Natsov), Tuvinskaya Narodnaya Respublika, Moscow 1930.
    (Written in Oct.  1929).

    Tuva was indeed called "Tang-nu Wulianghai".  The Czarist Russians
    called Tuva "Uryanhai".  P.  29-30 of the above mentioned book
    talks about a "Russo-Uryanhai regional meeting", in which, of
    course, a resolution was passed.  This meeting was after, and
    supposedly in response to, the February Revolution.  (Note:  Which
    year was that?  1915?)  The meeting was held in Byelotsarsk, and
    was convened by the Immigrants' Administration (Pereselencheskogo

    Article One of this resolution refers to "Tannu-Uryanh[a]i",
    obviously a corruption or Russianization of "Tang-nu Wulianghai".

    Once the Russians decided to call the Tuvans "Tuvans" and not
    "Uryanhais", then it was a natural step for them to quit calling
    the place "Tannu-Uryanhai" and call it "Tannu-Tuva" instead.

    In his discussion of the first meeting of the Party in Tuva, Natsov
    refers to the "Tannu-Tuva", but then afterwards it is always simply
    "Tuva".  At the founding of the nominally independent state, it was
    called the Tannu-Tuvan People's Republic, but that soon afterward,
    in just a few years, the "Tannu" was dropped.

    As we all know, the first Tuvan postage stamps, issued in 1926,
    have "Ta Ty" for Tangdy Tyva on them.  The next issue, from 1927,
    has just "Tyva".

    [Heroic answers provided by Masahiko Todoriki and Alan Leighton.]

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