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World Music CD Reviews Asia & Far East

Tyva Kyzy
Published March 16, 2007

Setkilimden Sergek Yr-dyr (A Cheerful Song From my Heart)
Tuva Trader 01

Despite 14 or so years of releases from the formerly closed, Soviet-controlled region of central Asia known as Tuva, there has been a decided lack of female throat singers. From Huun-Huur-Tu to Yat-Kha, men have been primarily responsible for the diaphonic growls and gurgles that have come to represent this still nomadic area. Indeed, the very hum of the singing, with its elongated groans that seem to rise straight from the gut, implies maleness. One could easily listen to “Ulug Shuilar Churtumaida,” a solo from Tyva Kyzy’s debut CD, and be certain it was yet another dude. However, this quintet is all-female, and like Huun-Huur-Tu, they update the ancient poems and songs of Tuva, pieces traditionally played solo, into ensemble format. These women conjure the very essence of Tuva—its mountains, streams, plateaus and the rhythms of horses—as capably as anyone to ever come out of the region.