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Mongolian Overtones
February 29, 2008 7:26 AM   Subscribe

In Mongolia, overtone singing (or hoomei, as it's known locally) is mainly a guy thing, but there are exceptions to the rule, for example, the Hoomei Women's Group. More commonly though, women who want to sing do so in an exquisite, soaring style like this and this. Sometimes the men do the hoomei thing while the women do that soaring thing. Then there are those lovely choral arrangements. And then there are those rare moments when the YouTube poster's description of a clip just hits the nail square on the head, as with this one: amazing.

These guys are getting throaty just outside the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

This fellow's really working those upper partials, presented in a clip that also features some glimpses of Mongolian life. Lots of horses.

N. Sengedorj of Mongolia demonstrates khöömei throat-singing.

Here's a cool little combo, with some hoomei going on.
posted by flapjax at midnite (23 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, that was great, nice post.
posted by zeoslap at 7:43 AM on February 29, 2008


flapjax, your music posts always make my day. Thanks again!
posted by invitapriore at 7:49 AM on February 29, 2008


Ah, I forgot to comment on the content itself. The embouchure control I imagine must be required to lock in to overtones this strongly seems ridiculous. I wonder what sort of timbral control could be achieved in western classical vocals with some of these techniques...
posted by invitapriore at 7:52 AM on February 29, 2008


Great post, as always!
posted by languagehat at 8:04 AM on February 29, 2008


Oh my goodness! amazing indeed, I went straight to the 'amazing' link expecting it to be so, and it was. But I'm puzzled, why doesn't he look like all old and grizzled - romany, gypsy, type - because that what he sounds like to me (well, before the eunuchy bit). What a surprise that bit of bow jigging at the end was too. Magic.
posted by tellurian at 8:05 AM on February 29, 2008


Great stuff - thanks
posted by taliaferro at 8:15 AM on February 29, 2008


Albert Kuvezin aka Yat-Kha: Love Will Tear Us Apart and When The Levee Breaks.
posted by progosk at 8:23 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Awesome. I've been wondering for a while whether it's possible for women to do overtone singing/throat singing/etc. Glad to find out they can (and can do it well!)

I highly recommend Huun Huur Tu, by the way, if they put on a concert near you. Truly gorgeous Tuvan throat-singing.
posted by ubersturm at 8:43 AM on February 29, 2008


I love that MeFi can be counted on for a throat-singing post about every six months. I would alert the White People blog, but I adore it too much. And not the white half of me, either. The black half secretly harbors dreams of doing a throat-singing hip-hop album. With didgeridoos.
posted by Eideteker at 9:08 AM on February 29, 2008


If you like Tuvan throat singing I highly recomend this artist.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:26 AM on February 29, 2008


Wonderful post!!! I have to agree with many above, that "amazing" link was indeed amazing, quite soulful. Thank you!
posted by lonemantis at 1:23 PM on February 29, 2008


I played the YT's, and next thing I know, I look out the window, and the backyard's full of yaks. Excellent post, flapjax.
posted by not_on_display at 1:43 PM on February 29, 2008


next thing I know, I look out the window, and the backyard's full of yaks

Head North, I think you are in Tibet.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:49 PM on February 29, 2008


I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Alba-koikee.

Also: Billy Laughlin.
posted by not_on_display at 1:55 PM on February 29, 2008


Great stuff.

Perfect as I just finished reading Genghis Khan by John Man.
posted by bwg at 6:01 PM on February 29, 2008


Albert Kuvezin aka Yat-Kha: Love Will Tear Us Apart and When The Levee Breaks.

Not being able to get these to play (it keeps just sending me back to the front page of the site) is making me quite sad.
posted by flaterik at 6:13 PM on February 29, 2008


approximately 12 seconds after saying that I noticed flashblock was blocking the tiny little inconspicuous player at the bottom of the page. *hangs head in shame*
posted by flaterik at 6:26 PM on February 29, 2008


If I could favorite this 10 times I would. wow.
posted by nickyskye at 7:46 PM on February 29, 2008


Anyone know where I could get the mp3 of the second singer in this clip?

I've got major goosebumps.
posted by bwg at 8:22 PM on February 29, 2008


I am lucky that my local bar is run by Mongolian brothers with an interest in folk, so I get to hear lots of great sounds through them.
posted by Abiezer at 11:07 PM on February 29, 2008


I love this music in The Story of the Weeping Camel. I wish I could find the song from it, it's really beautiful.
posted by melissam at 9:46 AM on March 1, 2008


sweet post. The song in the "amazing" link sounded like a mongolian version of "house of the rising sun".
posted by vronsky at 11:46 AM on March 1, 2008


I've been listening to Urna Chahar-Tugchi, who does the 'soaring' thing. (You can find some samples here)
The song "Ordosiin hawur", track 3 on her album "Jamar", sounds even more like a Mongolian version of "House of the Rising Sun" than the song in the "amazing" link. It's uncanny.
posted by Stove at 8:35 PM on March 3, 2008


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