Attending conference on Overtone Singing in Sardinia

End of next week I return to Europe again to attend a conference entitled “Music practices, identity and tradition: overtone and polyphonic singing in Sardinia and Central Asia.” It is organised by Sabrina Salis of the University of Sassari, Sardinia. Speakers and performers include Gian Nicola Spanu from the University of Sassari, Populos Tenore Nugoresu, Keith Howard from SOAS, London and myself. I’ll give a workshop and talk. Here is the abstract of my talk:

Discourses of authenticity surrounding traditional overtone singing practices.
The technique of singing overtones has been capturing the attention of a steadily growing number of listeners over the past decades. For audiences and practicing musicians alike, it brings to the forefront facts of the musical nature of an auditory reality that is inhabited by humans all over the world. For audiences new to the ability of the human voice to produce several pitches at the same time, the phenomenon itself leads to a breakthrough of habitual patterns of auditory perception and cognition; it may become a catalyst for deeper, personal transformations on levels beyond musical and auditory realms. For certain musicians from Sardinia, Tibet and the Altai-region, who are part of older traditions, the phenomenon itself is obviously not new. What is new, is the scientifically informed discourse that develops around their music, and also the associations that audiences make between their own traditional music on the one hand, and different traditions and (ancient) philosophical ideas about music on the other. Scientific discourse and ancient music philosophies are thus informed by previously unknown, older musical traditions, and vice versa.

Traditions, like those kept alive by Tibetan choirs, North-Asian throat singers and Sardinian polyphonic groups, sometimes lend authority, authenticity and credibility to singing harmonics for musicians outside these traditions. But what does this authority-claim mean for those inside and outside the traditions? Who are claiming what and on what bases? For example, how do non-traditional overtone singers use or abuse various traditions? Is it right to claim that traditions have a higher authority over certain musical techniques, in this case, overtone singing? Can this authority be extended to musical or acoustic phenomena as such? Several case studies from the literature and fieldwork will show the complexity of this issue, with different stances taken by musicians (and a scholar) inside and outside traditions. The overall picture emerging from such comparisons expands on the idea of my PhD Thresholds of the audible: about the polyphony of the body (2013). It shows that music, in theory and in practice, is a tool for drawing boundaries that inevitably keep fluctuating.

Tuvans in Beijing!

Friends in Beijing, don’t miss this opportunity:

Otkun and Choduraa bring their authentic and yet innovative Tuvan music to China for the first time. Take your chance to learn throat singing from original Tuvan masters!

Jan 13 SUN 16:00   Zajia Music Workshop:

Tuvan Traditional Throat Singing
with Choduraa Tumat and Otkun Dostay

Admission: 60rmb (student:40rmb)

Seats for the workshop are limited, please book your seat at zajialab@163.com

特邀图瓦音乐家:Choduraa Tumat 和Otkun Dostay

Tuvan Traditional Throat Singing with Choduraa Tumat and Otkun Dostay

工作坊时间 :1月13日(周日)下午4点
workshop: Jan 13(SUN) 4:00pm  60rmb(student:40rmb) and the class is in English

The website of Zajialab / Beijing Project Space:


email: zajialab@126.com

Zajialab is a wonderful alternative space for arts events, and also the one and only distributor in China of my book/cd Overtone Singing, my solo cd Paraphony and Parafonia’s cd Sphere.

Tyva Kyzy in the Netherlands/Belgium

Dear friends of Siberian throat singing!

More than ten years ago I heard and saw Tyva Kyzy for the first time in Tuva, where they began their ascent to national and international fame. More than five years ago they were touring Europe, and I invited them to the Netherlands for some concerts and workshops. The performance hall at the Museum voor Volkenkunde in Leiden, where the concerts were held, could barely all the folk that came to listen these female throat singers. The workshops there and at the Royal Consevatory in The Hague were a big success.

I have special memories of their visit: my wife June was about to deliver a boy that we wanted to call Attar. This means (among other things) horses in Tuvan; a horse is traditionally one of the most valued possessions for a Tuvan.

One of the golden oldies of the ever lively Tuvan traditional music is Eki A’ttar, which means Good Horses. It also sounds the same as: Hello Attar! (ekii Attar).

And so Choduraa Tumat and her group performed the song Eki A’ttar for June and her baby. And it worked! The day after the concert in Leiden I had to stay home as June’s contractions started, so that I missed the workshop at the Royal Conservatory. The next day I our son Attar made his appearance in this world, healthily and filled with curiosity. Attar, too, is a litte more than five years old now.
Give these fantastic performers another warm welcome!

Listen to their beautiful music, or do a workshop in Antwerp!

For the die-hards Primitive Equations offers a special Tuvan-Tibetan New Year’s celebration, to round up the visit of these ladies from their Siberian home, 5000 kilometers straight to the East from Amsterdam.

And for those who cannot attend (like myself): Tyva Kyzy are the special guests at the Dutch TV program Vrije Geluiden, where they can be seen on Sunday March 4, and after that online on the highly recommended Vrije Geluiden Youtube channel (link will follow).

Fri Feb 18. 20:30.





Same place: workshop throat singingand instrumental music.

sat 18.02.2012 13u00

Sun Feb 19





Shagaa/Oytulash/Losar/special event:


MASAHIKO Riki live in Taipei

One of the best throat singers outside Tuva/Mongolia is performing a concert in Taipei. Japan’s MASAHIKO Riki is a long-time Tuva afficionado who traveled to the region many times and has studied and mastered its songs and its most revered instrument, the igil, for about fifteen years. Part of the popular Japanese duo Tarbagan (Tuvan for marmot), Riki will be performing solo in Taipei.

The concert will be held at Zi-teng-lu 紫藤廬 on Sunday 30th May at 7pm


Tuvans Tour Europe March ’10

Tuva (officially spelled Tyva) is organising presentations throughout Europe during the month of March. Musicians, dancers, handicraftsmen and visual artists started their tour in Finland and travel through Austria, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain.

The Presentation of Republic of Tyva takes place:

in Helsinki (Finland) – March 1st and 2d,

in Warsaw (Poland) – March 6th, 7th and 8th
ul. Belwederska 25

in Vienna (Austria) – March 11th, 12th and 13th
Brahmsplatz 8, 1040, Wien, Österreich
Теl.: 0043/1/505 18 29 – 0

in Berlin (Germany) – March 15th and 16th
Russische Haus der Wissenschaft und Kultur
Friedrichstraße 176-179

in Brussel (Belgium) – March 17th – 18th
Centre Culturel et Scientifigue de Russie 21,
rue du Meridien – 1210 Bruxelles

in Lille (France) – March 19th – 21th
in Paris (France) – March 21th-25th

in Madrid (Spain) – March 26th and 27th
Centro Ruso de Cooperacion Internacional Cultural y Cientifica Calle Velazquez, 155, Madrid, 28002, Espana

The best of Tuvan culture is in the Presentation’s programme:
* rituals conducted by Tuvan shamans led by the the main shaman of Tuva,
* ethno-dances by children ensemble “Edegey”, the winner of the International contests,
* expo of the handicrafts and traditional cloth,
* exhibition of the treasery ofScythian barrow “Arzhaan-II”,
* exhibition dedicated to the religions in Tyva (shamanism and buddism),
* photo-exhibition about Tuva in the beginning of XXth century and today,
* concerts and workshop of master throat-singers.

Updates can be found on the Overtone Music Network