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Throat Singers of Tuva, Siberia

19. November 2009 by Daniel 0 Comments

In the depths of Russia’s Siberian wilderness, the whistling of the wind, the crashing of river waters, and the cry of animals in the wild are the sounds of nature one would not normally associate with the human voice.


But for the people of Tuva, these are sounds that are mimicked in the art of throat-singing – a vocal musical style unique to this part of southern Siberia.


The Tuvans are greatly practiced in the art of creating this music. Through manipulating the shape of the throat, voice box and mouth, they are able to clearly imitate the sounds of nature. It is a style of singing that encompasses a great range of sounds. First-time listeners instantly notice the low growl-like noise. But closer listening will reveal varying undertones and overtones, including whistling, grunting, and humming – all at once.


The songs the Tuvans sing often include lyrics having to do with horses and horsemen – an important necessity for the people of this region. The singing is as much about the songs as it is about the environment in which they are sung. Throat-singers have been known to travel into the countryside to find just the right environment in which to sing.


Video of Tuvan Throat Singers