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Don't carry me too far away.
October 4, 2005 1:35 PM   Subscribe

Paul Pena has died. Recognizable mostly as the subject of Genghis Blues, his incredible success teaching himself Tuvan throat singing will hopefully not be completely overshadowed by having written Steve Miller's hit "Big Old Jet Airliner." His early recordings, which never caught on (or necessarily came out), earned him favorable comparisons to Hendrix, and are available at his website.
posted by Eothele (34 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Well, lets hope this is the last important person to die today so I can finally stop feeling pathos.
posted by Saddo at 1:45 PM on October 4, 2005


"Genghis Blues" is a stunning movie. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy.
posted by RakDaddy at 1:47 PM on October 4, 2005


a beautiful and inspiring man and musician. may he rest in peace.
posted by gnutron at 1:48 PM on October 4, 2005


"Gonna Move" off his long unreleased CD is an amazing tune. Like one of my all time favorite songs.
posted by mathowie at 1:49 PM on October 4, 2005


And I'm bummed that I skipped out on a screening of Genghis Blues in 1999 on a trip to SF. He was at the screening, and the movie was brand new and I was too lazy to trek across the city to catch it.
posted by mathowie at 1:50 PM on October 4, 2005


What RakDaddy said.
"Big Old Jet Airliner" is a great song, Steve Millers' version notwithstanding. And "Gonna Move" is a classic.
posted by Floydd at 1:51 PM on October 4, 2005


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posted by NationalKato at 1:56 PM on October 4, 2005


Being diabetic myself, I had a lot of sympathy for him when he had health problems in Genghis Blues.

I'm surprised it wasn't the fermented mare's milk that did him in.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:01 PM on October 4, 2005


man...

I love Ghengis Blues and Paul's other work. Paul's work is what introduced me to Tuvan throat singing which I just find amazing and beautiful.
posted by onhazier at 2:03 PM on October 4, 2005


isn't Paul's version (not sure about Miller's) just called, 'Jet Airliner?'
posted by NationalKato at 2:10 PM on October 4, 2005


"Big Old Jet Airliner" is a great song, Steve Millers' version notwithstanding.

Agreed. I usually enjoy Steve Miller, but his version of "Jet Airliner," is too baldfaced a rip on Free for my taste. Pena's version is another matter. For those who haven't heard it, here's an mp3 (yousendit).

and oh, yeah

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posted by jonmc at 2:15 PM on October 4, 2005


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I saw him live a few years ago at Ahkenaz in Berkeley on a whim. Had never heard of him before that. He was such a small and quiet man, and his persona exuded warmth from the stage. I'll never forget that show. I'll have to throw his disc in when I get home.
posted by pmbuko at 2:16 PM on October 4, 2005


shit.... what a great musician, what a great loss.

Here I am on my way now, on my way back home,
On this winged horse I've mounted, on my way alone.
I've been listening to the music of nature
I've been tuned to the wonder of the earth,
I've been listening and I've been relating
Now I feel the reason for our birth.
Everything here sings like a bird on the wing!
Now I get back home and find out they think it's all for show;
Now I get back home and find out they don't know!

Here I am in Tuva, listening to the sound,
Here I sit at the center of Asia, with my ear to the ground.
Lord, its been a long time, since I've felt so free!
Through the hardships and heartaches,
Through the tiredness of body and mind I see
That every heart needs to sing like a bird on the wing!
There's so many things you've got to know how to do
To get along; All I know to do is sing.
My friends they sing with me in some way,
That's the way it seems!

Yrlar sen, Kongar-ol! (Sing it, Kongar-ol!)

Got me a brother in prison, I know nothing about.
All I know is when he sings it's beauty;
His heart and soul come out.
They can't tell me nothing about him,
Don't know [if he's] dead or alive,
But I will sing to my Ezhim (friend) Oidupaa
If I can help him to survive, I don't know.
If I don't, Lord, his memory will remain!
Me and my friends we've heard his voice,
And now we know his name;
Me and my friends, we're gonna play his music to the world
And listen with no shame!

[So] here I am on my way now, on my way back home,
On this winged horse I've mounted, riding on alone.
I will listen to the music of nature
I will listen to the wonder of the earth.
I will listen and keep relating
You would do well to do some work on that, my friend;
If we don't, I know nothing will remain! What a shame!
Me and my friends we will remember all the love we've known.
We will tell everybody: In Tuva we've found another home!

Here I am at the center of Asia.

Tunap bodap borarymga-yo,
Tuva chonum bergenein-e.

posted by 40 Watt at 2:22 PM on October 4, 2005


.

I saw him in Ghengis Blues, and marveled. What a wonderful, lovely man.
posted by kalimac at 2:46 PM on October 4, 2005


Um, forgive my ignorance. What does a period mean?

Figured doing a google search on "." might be a bit tricky.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:54 PM on October 4, 2005


BTW I actually travelled to Tuva and even (very briefly) met (or, more accurately, "ran into") Kongar-ol, the Paul Pena's Tuvan throatsinging friend from the movie. It's a very cool country; the people are very friendly. It's also fairly bleak, in the middle of Siberia, and really hasn't seen much development or tourism. Definitely a good candidate for sustainable eco-tourism.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:57 PM on October 4, 2005


My only knowledge of Tuvan before this post was that found on an episode of Futurama (Mars Day). But not I want to learn how to do it, looking for learning resources I came across this audio crash course. I can afford to learn this until I get enough money to buy a banjo
posted by herting at 3:00 PM on October 4, 2005


Wow, I've been meaning to check out Ghengis Blues for forever, guess now would be an apropos (if not bittersweet) time.

Deathalicious, it denotes a moment of silence. (Take a gander at the FAQs when you have a sec, I think it's in there...)
posted by Specklet at 3:54 PM on October 4, 2005


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posted by thirteenkiller at 4:13 PM on October 4, 2005


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posted by Mr Bluesky at 4:55 PM on October 4, 2005


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posted by Polarisman at 5:42 PM on October 4, 2005


Ooops, his records aren't available on his website after all. Sorry about that, folks.
posted by Eothele at 6:36 PM on October 4, 2005


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posted by moonbird at 8:13 PM on October 4, 2005


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posted by huzzahhuzzah at 8:34 PM on October 4, 2005


Hey, that guy sings "Big Ol' Jed Adolaido" all wrong!
posted by Eideteker at 10:59 PM on October 4, 2005


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posted by Vidiot at 11:18 PM on October 4, 2005


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posted by swordfishtrombones at 1:10 AM on October 5, 2005


I really liked Ghengis Blues, after finally getting a chance to see it.

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posted by OmieWise at 5:30 AM on October 5, 2005


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posted by milov at 6:58 AM on October 5, 2005


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posted by frenetic at 7:22 AM on October 5, 2005


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posted by scody at 11:17 AM on October 5, 2005


jonmc - thanks for the mp3. I think I like it even better than Steve Miller's version.

Anyone who hasn't seen Genghis Blues, go pick yourself up a copy. It's amazing.

Farewell to a remarkable man.
posted by tdismukes at 12:54 PM on October 5, 2005


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posted by Deathalicious at 8:41 PM on October 5, 2005


. :-(
posted by skyboy at 9:57 PM on October 7, 2005


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