With millions of clicks, the Mongolian The Hu Band is attracting attention right now. They have been working on their debut album for seven years and have now released two viral videos. They call their style “hunnu rock”, which probably has its roots in the Mongolian word for human, хүн. “It’s not rock music played by Mongolians. It’s Mongolian rock music.” the Metal-Hammer quotes the American music ethnology doctoral student Thalea Stokes. NPR even calls it Havy Metal.

Obviously the group reaches a clientele that doesn’t know throat singing yet and compares it with growling from the metal scene. Those who have been to Mongolia are familiar with the sounds, and you can hear a lot from the traditional Xhöömei music, from instruments, vocal techniques to melodies. The videos are great. The rider warrior with motorbike escort does a good job.

The HU - Wolf Totem

A composition by Aaron Jensen, Canada 2012, for mixed choir a cappella and overtone soloist.

SSAATTB + overtone singer soloist (khoomej style) 6’00″

Text by Uvavnuk – translation: Jane Hirshfield

Commissioned by The Toronto Arts Council

Premiere: 12.05.2013 — The Elmer Iseler Singers, conductor Lydia Adams

Guest overtone singer: Scott Peterson

More about the composition on Aaron Jensen’s website.

This duo from Tuva ensures disbelief, when suddenly the woman sings a deep bass and the guy singing three octaves above. And what a bass! She uses the Tuvan undertone singin technique Kargyraa. It produces these deep tones with both the vestibular folds and the vocal cords. The man sings the famous Sygyt, the whistle throat singing style of the nomadic peoples around the Altai Mountains.

Throat singing from Kalmykia is limited according to Sven Grawunder on a single talented singer, Okna Tsahan Zam, who adapted the Tuvan khoomej for Epic songe of the Kalmyks. For that reason it is a particularly worth listening piece of music of the small Turkic people on the Caspian Sea.

Grawunder, Sven. 1999. Die Erforschung eines besonderen Stimmgebrauchs - Obertongesang versus Kehlgesang. Unpublished Diploma, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Halle/S.

The full concert of the group Violons Barbares with the Mongolian singer and Morin Khuur player Dandarvaanchig Enkhjargal (Epi) at Paléo Festival Nyon on 24/07/2015.

The full concert of Tuvan group Huun Huur Tu at the Paléo Festival in Nyon on 26/07/2015.

The bizarre video Karmacoma of the English trip-hop group Massive Attack came to the UK charts in 1995 as a single, at a time when Central Asian throat singing was becoming popular in Europe. The overtone singing is probably a remix of Tuvinian throat singing. (Thanks to Bram Vanoverbeke for the tip).

Royal Beat Crew with throat singing group Khusugtun (Хөсөгтөн хамтлаг), both from Ulaanbaatar Mongolia.

Something like that you would not expect when throat singers from Tuva are on the program.  Jingle Bells 2. American Christmas conquers even the remote highlands of the Altai. Here the Alash Ensemble from Tuva along with Bela & The Flecktones at Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Music Festival 2012.

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