M u s i c N e w s
By Janos Gereben
Tyva Kyzy's Adventures in Sound One by one, four young, tiny women took their turn Thursday night in the SF Asian Art Museum's jam-packed Samsung Hall. One by one — clad in ancient and exotic outfits of leather and silk — each sang soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, a bit of didgeridoo . . . and then all at the same time. It was throat singing at its stupefying best, voices like light seen through a prism, like water squirting from a constricted hose. Indeed, the mechanism of throat singing is similar to putting a finger at the end of the hose — the trick is tightening the throat………And right there, you have one of two essential facts about Tyva Kyzy, "Daughters of Tuva" — they are not men, but rather five (with instrumentalist Ayana Mongush) of Tuva's 50 women throat singers, and only female professional group. The other important — and statistically improbable — thing about Tyva Kyzy is that they are the best. When you listen to European throat singers, Mongolians or Tuvan men, after the initia amazement of hearing numerous overtones and two simultaneous pitches, interest tends to lag. These rare women throat singers go far beyond novelty and shock value. They are outstanding musicians. Choduraa Tumat, the group's leader and star, hits the high-C equivalent sygyt — a powerful, whistle-like overtone — while maintaining kargyraa, the low, rumbling, four-note fundamental, shifting seamlessly into khoomei, the multiple-note, multiple-tone sound... and does so with elegance and melodic beauty. There are some Mongolian throat singers performing with as much lyricism and humor as Tyva Kyzy, but I haven't heard any better…..Throat singing or "just singing," the Daughters of Tuva are special every way. The group also performed in Berkeley and Santa Cruz last week.