DUC MINH sings with overtones, Hanoi, Vietnam, May 11th 2014
Kongar-ol Ondar performing at the 2nd International Festival of World Music in Russia in July 2004.
During his life, Kongar-ol Ondar brought global exposure to the obscure art of Tuvan throat singing through his appearance in an Oscar-nominated documentary and a slew of performances that charmed the West.
Mr. Ondar was a star in his homeland of Tuva, the Russian republic that had for centuries been part of Mongolia and briefly a Manchurian territory until it was annexed by the former Soviet Union. The tiny area in southern Siberia, now part of the Russian federation, is known for two things: the monument near its capital, Kyzyl, marking the geographical center of Asia, and throat singing.
Overtone singing, as the vocalization is more widely known, is found in pockets around the world, but Tuvan throat singing is particularly well-known now, thanks to Mr. Ondar, who died July 25 at the age of 51 after, according to news reports, emergency surgery to treat a brain hemorrhage.
Throat singers manipulate their vocal chords to make audible the overtones of the notes they hit, producing more than one pitch at a time. The harmonic effect is mesmerizing — most first-time listeners are astonished to learn the sound is produced by a human.
Mr. Ondar, on a trip to California with Tuvan singers in the early 1990s, met an American blues singer who had taught himself to throat sing. He encouraged the blind American, Paul Pena, to travel to Tuva for its annual throat-singing symposium.
Mr. Pena made the trip in 1995, along with Roko and Adrian Belic, two American brothers who filmed the unlikely adventure. Their documentary, “Genghis Blues,” was released in 1999 and nominated for an Academy Award the next year for best documentary. (It lost out to “One Day in September,” about the terrorist attack at the 1972 Munich Olympics.)
Mr. Ondar, who had taken on a role as something of a cultural ambassador for Tuva, attended that red-carpet Oscar ceremony, dressed in his traditional nomadic herder attire, and displayed the natural charisma that shone so brightly in the film.
“Genghis Blues” is explicitly about Mr. Pena’s journey from San Francisco to a land as foreign as any in the 20th century. But once the story leaves the U.S., Mr. Ondar, like an overtone that unexpectedly makes itself an equal part of the harmony, whisks the audience on horseback into the scenic Asian steppe.
Mr. Ondar’s ebullience stands in stark contrast to Mr. Pena’s occasional spasms of depression and panic. He leads with his warm personality and a smile as wide as the Tuvan sky, and when Mr. Pena hits the depths of his sadness, Mr. Ondar brings him back with the one passion both men share: music.
As part of his effort to nurture and spread Tuvan culture, Mr. Ondar performed for a variety of other Western musicians during the 1990s, including Frank Zappa and Ry Cooder, and brought his art to mass media with an appearance on “The Late Show With David Letterman.” But his collaboration with Mr. Pena illustrates best the exotic sound of throat singing and the electric connection the two men had.
Roko Belic, who directed “Genghis Blues,” reminisced in an email to the Journal about his experience with the celebrated musician, whom he helped to put on the world-wide stage:
When I heard the news of Kongar-ol’s death it felt is as if a piece of the world had been broken off and lost. I first got to know him in December 1994, when I knocked on his door at 1 a.m. His friend in America, Ralph Leighton, had given me his address, and being a friend of a friend was all that was needed for Kongar-ol to welcome me like a brother. He woke up his wife and children to meet me and then gave me tea, fed me and made a bed for me.
A couple days later I learned what kind of teacher Kongar-ol was. The temperature was minus 50 degrees centigrade, and he told me we had to go for a drive. We traveled for three hours through a blizzard in his Lada and eventually came upon a farmhouse. Kongar-ol spoke to a woman there, and a few minutes later came out of the house with an 11-year-old boy. On the drive back to Kyzyl, Kongar-ol explained that this boy was a student of his. The boy had not returned to school in Kyzyl after a recent holiday, and that’s why we had to go and retrieve him. I had never seen a teacher so dedicated to his students. I soon learned that this dedication was an expression of Kongar-ol’s devotion to Tuva, its culture and its people.
Every time Kongar-ol performed, whether it was in someone’s living room or in a stadium filled with thousands of people, Kongar-ol gave it his all. Mother Teresa said “Give until it hurts, and then give some more.” Kongar-ol did just that.
Though I am deeply saddened by his passing, my life and the world are profoundly enriched because Kongar-ol lived.
This clip, from the “Genghis Blues” DVD, shows Messrs. Ondar and Pena playing a mashup of American blues and throat singing.
OVERTONE SINGING con TRAN QUANG HAI – WORKSHOP DAL 3 ALL’8 OTTOBRE 2014, ROMA, ITALIA
ROMA, DAL 3 ALL’8 OTTOBRE 2014: WORKSHOP “OVERTONE SINGING”
CON TRAN QUANG HAI
sei giorni di workshop sul canto armonico con il più
grande esperto mondiale
dal 3 all’8 ottobre 2014 (dalle ore 15,00 alle ore 19,00)
per un totale di 24 ore.
POSTI LIMITATISSIMI: GLI INTERESSATI POSSONO PREISCRIVERSI ED ASSICURARSI COSI’ LA PRIORITA’ AL MOMENTO DELL’ISCRIZIONE
Raffinato interprete delle tradizioni musicali dell’Estremo Oriente, maestro di artisti come Demetrio Stratos, Tran Quang Hai è considerato il più grande specialista del mondo di canto difonico (overtones), tecnica vocale di origine sciamanica che permette l’emissione simultanea di due note, diffusa in Mongolia, in Siberia e in Sudafrica.
Tran Quang Hai proviene da una famiglia di cinque generazioni di musicisti.
Tran Quang Hai comes from a family of five generations of musicians.
Published on Jan 1, 2014
TRAN QUANG HAI sings AULD LAND SYNE with overtone singing style, january 1st 2014
Tran Quang Hai uses the overtone singing style to sing “Jingle Bells” to celebrate CHRISTMAS
Published on Dec 11, 2013
tran quang hai sings the ode to joy in one breath with overtones in CATANIA, ETNA volcano, 10 12 13
Published on Oct 28, 2013
TRAN QUANG HAI sings 4 times ARTII SAYIR Tuvin folksong in one breath with overtones 81 seconds. This is considered as the longest breath with overtones for the Tuvin folksong ARTII SAYIR performed by Tran Quang Hai
Filmed in Limeil Brevannes, October 28th 2013
Published on Oct 24, 2013
TRAN QUANG HAI sings the ODE TO JOY 2 times and a little more (70seconds)
Filmed in Limeil Brévannes, France, October 24th , 2013
WORKSHOP OF OVERTONE SINGING IN ROMA, ITALY, 20 october 2013
Organized by Associazione Voices, Eleonora BRUNI
Trân Quang Hai, teacher
Trân Quang Hai and participants of the workshop
Participants of the workshop
Trân Quang Hai & Raffaella
Trân Quang Hai & Chiara
Trân Quang Hai & Enrico
Trân Quang Hai & Laura
Trân Quang Hai & Giovanna
Trân Quang Hai & Elisa
Trân Quang Hai & Simone
Trân quang Hai & Laura
Trân Quang Hai & Eleonora Bruni
Trân Quang Hai & participants of the workshop
Dinner with 8 persons
Eleonora & Raffaella
Eleonora, Raffaella, Laura, Giovanna
Simone & Chiara
Enrico, Giovanna, Laura
Trân Quang Hai, Enrico, Giovanna, Laura
Artista vietnamita da molti anni residente a Parigi, Tran Quang Hai proviene da una famiglia di cinque generazioni di musicisti.
Raffinato interprete delle tradizioni musicali dell’Estremo Oriente, virtuoso esecutore su diversi strumenti tra cui gli dan moi, gengong, e khomus (scacciapensieri di origine vietnamita, balinese, siberiana) maestro di numerosi artisti tra cui spicca il nome di Demetrio Stratos, Tran Quang Hai è considerato il più grande specialista del mondo di canto armonico o difonico (“overtones singing”), tecnica vocale di origine sciamanica che permette l’emissione simultanea di due note, diffusa in Mongolia, in Siberia e in Sudafrica.
Già ospite della prima edizione del Marranzano World Festival nel 2005, Tran Quang Hai torna a Catania dal 5 al 9 dicembre 2013, per un concerto e un workshop intensivo sul canto armonico, che rappresentano l’ultima sessione invernale della V edizione del MWF 2013, dedicata alla voce nelle suemolteplici manifestazioni.
Per dettagli, informazioni e iscrizioni
Tran Quang Hai: Marranzano host of the World Festival 2013
21 octobre 2013 11:15
Vietnamese artist living in Paris for many years , Tran Quang Hai comes from a family of five generations of musicians.
Refined interpreter of the musical traditions of the Far East , a virtuoso performer on several instruments including dan moi , gengong , and khomus ( jew’s harp of Vietnamese origin , Balinese , Siberian ) master of many artists among them Demetrio Stratos , Tran Quang Have is considered as the greatest teacher in the world specialist of overtone singing , vocal technique of shamanic origin that allows the simultaneous emission of two notes , widespread in Mongolia , Siberia and South Africa.
Already host of the first edition of the World Festival Marranzano in 2005 , Tran Quang Hai returns to Catania December 5 to 9 , 2013, for a concert and an intensive workshop on overtone singing , which represent the last winter session of the fifth edition of the MWF 2013 dedicated to the voice in musical events .
For details, information and registration