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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Tuvan band to bring throat-singing to URI this October

KINGSTON, R.I. -- Sept. 21, 2001 -- Hidden in a remote area of the world between Siberia and Mongolia lies the autonomous Russian republic of Tuva, home of the distinct, ancient and extremely skillful art of throat singing. Next week and in October, the University of Rhode Island’s Pangaea roots music series invites Rhode Islanders to experience the music and culture of Tuvan throat singing through a series of free public events.

The Tuvan group Yat-Kha will visit the University to present the unique and skillful art of throat-singing. Currently on a nationwide tour that includes such prestigious venues as the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh, and Harvard University, Yat-Kha will perform at the University’s Kingston Campus on Friday, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. in Edwards Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public. Members of the band will also participate in a free workshop in the Memorial Union earlier that day, from noon to 2 p.m., to share the culture and music of Tuva.

On Tuesday, Sept. 25, the film Genghis Blues will be shown to provide background to the geography, culture, and music of Tuva. The award-winning documentary film follows blind American blues singer Paul Pena as he competes in a throat-singing competition in Tuva. The film will be shown from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Memorial Union Ballroom. It is free and open to the public. Locally, Yat-Kha will also be on the National Public Radio show The Connection on Thursday, Oct. 4. The Connection runs from 10 a.m. to noon on WRNI (1290 AM) and WBUR (90.9 FM).

Yat-Kha is brought to URI by Pangaea, which is organized by Michael LaPointe, a hall director as part of URI’s Office of Housing and Residential Life.

Throat singing is the multi-harmonic vocal music that allows a singer to hit up to four notes at the same time to produce a reverberating growl, similar to the drone of a bagpipe, and a series of flute-like harmonics. The two sounds may be musically stylized to represent such sounds as the whistle of a bird, the syncopated rhythms of a mountain stream or the lilt of a cantering horse.

No one has perfected this musical style better than Yat-Kha, who combine it with traditional and electric instruments. The group, composed of five members who play such instruments as the yat-kha (long zither), percussion, igil, and doshpulur, started in the late 1980s in the hyper-industrial steel-belt city of Sverdlovsk. The group now tours all over the world, recently finishing up a spring and summer tour that took them to Paris, Germany, Finland, the United Kingdom, Italy, Ireland, and Hungary.

The group has released many acclaimed records, including the most recent "Aldyn Dashka." One of their first, "Yenisei-Punk," was recorded in 1995 using the Siberian atmosphere of Helsinki, Finland for inspiration. The CD went straight to number two on the World Music Charts Europe of EBU and is still the best seller for Global Music Center. Other recordings include "Dalai Beldiri" and "Khanparty."

Members of the group include Albert Kuvezin on vocals, guitar, and yat-kha (long zither); Zhenya Tkachov on percussion; Sailyk Ommun on vocals, keys; Mahmoud Skripaltschikov on bass, bass vocals; and Radik Tiuliush on igil, doshpulur, kloomei vocals.

Pangaea URI Roots Music Series has presented more than 50 free groups representing cultures all over the globe during the last five years. For questions regarding the events, please call the Office of Residential Life at 874-5162.

For Information: Michael LaPointe, 401-874-5883, Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-2116, Jennifer Smith, 401-874-2116

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