Thursday, July 30, 2009

CD Review: Huun Huur Tu and Carmen Rizzo...or Bust!

Huun Huur Tu and Carmen Rizzo
Electrofone Music

Huun Huur Tu are throat-singing masters from the Republic of Tuva located in southern Russia. There name can be translated from Tuvan to mean "sunbeams". They have been wowing crowds with their vocal mastery since the early 1990's. The addition of electronic musician, Carmen Rizzo, adds a modern flair to the historical instrumentation of igil (two-stringed instrument), guitar, doshpuluur (lute), flute, byzaanchi (spike fiddle) and drums performed on Eternal. Additional instrumentation is provided on violin, cello, trumpet, cumbus, and bass. "Ancestors Call" is the opening track that begins with an ambulatory drum-beat indicative of galloping horses roaming the taiga. Vocals, although present, are interspersed throughout the album. "Mother Taiga" is an inviting track with all the elements of a great Huun Huur Tu track. Carmen's electronic sounds and ambient backdrops propel the songs into an otherworldly place. Yet, the unfamiliarity is broken by the slightly guttural; but hauntingly beautiful and unmistakable vocals of Huun Huur Tu. Vocals are provided by Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, Sayan Bapa, Radik Tyulyush, and Alexey Saryglar. Eternal is an album that will last for the ages. It's a perfect beginning for those seeking contemporary throat-singing. ~ Matthew Forss

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