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.
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
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.
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).