Tuesday, 22 September 2009

"What You Talking About?" Paul Pena, and Kongar-ool Ondar.

Paul Pena, and Kongar-ool Ondar combine the blues, and Tuvan throat-singing, -to hear more and learn a little more, you could go far back in time within this blog, to february 2007....

From Wikipedia: While searching for a Korean language lesson on shortwave radio on December 29, 1984, Pena was intrigued by an example of Tuvan throat-singing he heard on a Radio Moscow broadcast. Seven years later he found a Tuvan record at a local record store called Tuva: Voices From the Center of Asia.
Based on that record and extended experimentation, he was able to teach himself the vocal techniques called Khoomei, Sygyt and Kargyraa: " After playing the CD continuously for several months and driving many of my friends away by making weird noises while experimenting with my voice, I finally learned a few of the basic techniques of this fascinating group of vocal styles by remembering the styles of some of the blues greats of the past — especially Charlie Patton, Tommy McClennan, and Chester "Howlin' Wolf" Burnett. "
Pena also taught himself Tuvan. There were no Tuvan to English translation dictionaries, so Pena used two dictionaries: a Tuvan to Russian and Russian to English. He used a device called an Optacon to scan the pages and convert the printed words into tactile sensations he could read with his finger. Pena attended a performance of Tuvan throat-singing at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco on February 6, 1993. He performed an impromptu Tuvan song in the kargyraa style, which impressed famous Tuvan throatsinger Kongar-ool Ondar. Ondar invited Pena to sing in the second international Khoomei Symposium in 1995 in Kyzyl, Tuva. Pena travelled to Tuva and was the first westerner to compete in the Symposium. He placed first in the Kargyraa contest and also won the "audience favorite" category. Tuvans affectionately call him "Cher Shimjer" (Earthquake), because of the deepness of his voice. Pena said "My voice is lower than most Tuvans. They have a style that makes your voice lower. When I use that, there's a slow song when I hit a note that's four white keys from the left of the piano."
The 1999 film Genghis Blues documented Pena's journey to Tuva. It won the 1999 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for a Documentary. "

Paul Pena died on the 1st October, 2005, of pancreatic cancer.
His life was not without difficulty, he was born with congenital glaucoma, and attended a school for the blind. By age twenty he had no sight at all.