Various Artists

Deep in the Heart of Tuva: Cowboy Music from the Wild East

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They're not likely to be found singing "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," even though that plant hails from their country, but the Tuvans are having an impact on the rest of the world when it comes to their music. Tuvan throat-singing, a fascinating style in which a single vocalist can produce a haunting four-part harmony, has turned up on Ry Cooder's film soundtracks and as part of the style of bluesman Paul "Earthquake" Pena, while concerts by groups such as Huun-Huur-Tu continue to be extremely popular. This compilation, produced and annotated by Ralph Leighton, brings together traditional and contemporary Tuvan music, opening with a demonstrative medley from Kongar-Ool Ondar and closing with a duet between Ondar and Pena. The text, meanwhile, provides a glimpse into the history and culture of Tannu Tuva, with translations of Tuvan stories and poetry as an added bonus. To cap things off, this is all presented as a miniature hardcover book with attractive coffee-table design -- a typically excellent Ellipsis Arts presentation.

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