Following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, travel restrictions imposed on former Soviet citizens relaxed, and Tuvan musicians brought Tuva’s cultural heritage to the international stage. With the iron curtain lifted, Tuvan musicians revealed an endemic Tuvan musical practice formerly unknown to much of the world: Tuvan throat singing. Termed khoomei in the Tuvan language, Tuvan throat singing allows a single vocalist to produce multiple, harmonious vocal tones simultaneously. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE about Tuvan throat singing techniques.
In post-Soviet Tuva, throat singing has come to signify a re-emergence of formerly suppressed Tuvan culture. Many Tuvan throat singers describe throat singing as a means by which Tuvans express their relationships to family, friends, the vast and varied Tuvan landscapes, and heroic Tuvan ancestors, whose bravery, ingenuity, and inspired leadership are celebrated in the songs of contemporary Tuvan throat singers.
The vocal virtuosity of Tuvan throat singers rapidly became the envy of professional vocalists worldwide, generating collaborative projects that captured the imagination of international audiences. Famed European and American performing artists and musicians Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Laurie Anderson, Willie Nelson, and Paul Pena all successfully produced innovative music while working with Tuvan artists both in concert and in the studio. The vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth studied with Tuvan singer Ayan-ool Sam while developing the group’s Grammy Award winning eponymous album, released in 2014: an album that also features the compositions of Carolyn Shaw, for which she received a Pulitzer Prize.
As global demand for new and innovative music continues to increase, TravelTuva seeks to facilitate collaboration between professional Tuvan musicians and foreign visitors who hope to utilize Tuvan musical techniques in their own musical practice. TravelTuva proudly partners with the Tuvan National Orchestra and the Center for the Development of Tuvan Traditional Arts to provide Tuvan throat singing and instrumentation lessons lead by Tuva’s premier musicians. TravelTuva clients who seek Tuvan musical instruction may work with multiple Tuvan musicians to receive a wide range of musical insight and influence, or clients may work with a single instructor to focus on a particular nuance of Tuvan musical performance. In addition, TravelTuva’s music programs also provide opportunities for beginners and non-musicians who hope to gain one-on-one experiences with Tuvan vocalists through introductory workshops and individual lessons.
For travelers who are not musically inclined, but are interested in hearing Tuvan music firsthand, Tuvan musical ensembles provide both short demonstrations of Tuvan singing and instrumentation, as well as full length, private performances. These demonstrations and performances complement TravelTuva’s nature based tourism opportunities by providing visitors Tuvan cultural interpretations of the fantastic environments found in this south Siberian republic.
To learn more about TravelTuva’s affiliation with Tuvan musicians or to book a custom tour that includes throat singing instruction, please do not hesitate to Contact Us.