Monday, November 22, 2004

Okay folks: Sunday night, we went to the Somerville Theater to see Huun Huur Tu, probably one of the best known of the Tuvan throat singing groups out there. What else can I say, but these guys are rock stars?

I know very little about Tuvan (or Mongolian or any other Central Asian) musical styles, and I certainly have no idea on how to produce the overtones with my voice as they do. You can check out more on that at this site.

The program had stated that music from this part of the world tends to be less abstract, more concrete than western music, and that it could be considered a sort of 'aural map' of the surroundings. This makes perfect sense to me, as the music was very evocative of horses galloping, camels in a caravan, even different animals in a boreal forest and breaking storms overhead. Amazing the pictures painted with sounds. I'd sit back and close my eyes, travelling with the horses, thinking about the transport of goods, of histories, of music and instruments even, over to our part of the world, where they'd be modified and eventually evolve into something more familiar to us.

Hal saw in the culture behind the music parallels to the cowboys, the plains riders here. Both are solitary, even lonely existences in a land with a big sky. In a lot of the 'country' music, you've got occurrences of overtones from yodelling and even modified throat singing by some.

Like most unfamiliar at first music, it takes a bit of time to accustom your ears to it. It is so worth the effort, though, between the similar themes wrapped up in different melodies and the sheer power of the musicians themselves. I had not forgotten myself at a concert in a long time - it was great to be able to do so last night.

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