Archive for July, 2015



Believe it or not, the camel was once the most magnificent of all the animals! It’s true! He had beautiful big horns with golden tips, and a long thick, bushy tail.
Day after day the camel used to stand beside the river, admiring his reflection in the water.
One day while he was standing there, down from the hills came the Siberian stag. ” Ekii, Teve!” said the stag. This is the way to say, “Hi camel!” in Tuvan. ” My brother,” he went on, ” you have the most magnificent horns I have ever seen. Won’t you loan them to me? I’m going to a party and I’d like to get dressed up.” ” My horns? ” said the camel. ” I’d hate to give away my horns.” ” Dont worry,” said the stag, ” I’ll bring them right back tomorrow.” ” Tomorrow? All right,” said the camel, ” But make sure that you do.” And so Teve the camel took off his magnificent horns and loaned them to stag. The stag ran off into the mountains.
Teve stood beside the river, admiring what was left of his reflection. Pretty soon along came the horse. “Ekii,Teve!” said the horse. ” My brother, you have the most beautiful tail I have ever seen. Won’t you loan it to me? I’m on my way to a horse-race, and I’m sure I’d win if ı had your tail.” “Chock!” said the camel. That is the Tuvan way to say, ” No!” ” I already loaned out my horns and I just can’t load my tail too.” ” Don’t worry, brother. I will bring it right back after the race is over.” ” You’re sure?” said Teve. “All right, but make sure you bring it right back.” He took off his long, thick, bushy tail and gave it to the horse. The horse galloped away across the steppe.
The camel stood there beside the river, peering off into the distance, looking for his friends. He waited all day. He waited the next day, and the day after that. Neither the stag nor the horse ever came back. The stag stayed far away in the mountains and forests. As for the horse, whenever he meets a camel, he shies away.
And from that day to this, the camel has remained the angriest of all the animals!

KYZYL 2010,TUVAN LEGENDS AND TALES, Konstantin Khlynov

Photo :

Photo :

The Nomad’s Blog for Nomads / Radik Tyulyush

Radik Tyulyush is an outstanding musician from The Republic of Tyva. He was born in Solchur, Övür province of Tuva, on the border with Mongolia.

Already in his late school years and with schoolmates, Radik’s started a pop rock band YER. It became extremely popular in Tuva in 1993. Later there were a five-years long break, and YER returned to the stage in 2009. Radik says: “I write songs and arrange them for YER. The band attracts me with the possibility to share my own vision of the contemporary music.”

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A long time ago there was Ösküs-ool, who lived with his aged father and whose entire wealth consisted of three goats. Early in the spring, one of the noyon old mares foaled and died of exhaustion. The noyon ordered the foal to be taken to the steppe and thrown to the wolves, saying that losing one foal wasn’t going to make him poor. Ösküs-ool took pity on the foal, taking him as his own and feeding him on the milk of his own goats. The foal grew up to be a wonderful grey racer with a white star on his head. In the races Ösküs-ool’s horse began to beat all the noyon’s horses and won fame throughout Tuva. Out of hatred and spite the noyon ordered his men to kill Ösküs-ool’s horse, and they drove her over a high cliff.

Ösküs-ool, not finding his beloved horse anywhere, passed out from fatigue, dreaming of his horse who spoke to him with human voice. ” You will find my remains at the bottom of great cliff. Hang my skull on an old larch tree, the wood of which you will use to make musical instrument, and its face ill be the skin of my muzzle, and its strings will be of the hair of my tail. When you begin to play on this instrument, my double will come to you from the upper( heavenly ) kingdom.” Ösküs-ool did all this as his horse had said in the dream and began to play. He remembered his horse, how was a small little foal and how they played together, he remembered how they won the races, and he played and wept, and it was as if the instrument wept together with him. Ösküs-ool become angry thinking of the evil noyon, and all of his longing and anger found reflection in his playing, and that’s why it is said that the igil is such a complex instrument, with such great expressive possibilities.

Öksüs-ool played for a long time, and the people listened for a long time and laughed and cried together with him as they listened. Suddenly on top of a high mountain the clouds parted and there came down from the heavens a beautiful grey foal – an exact copy of his horse, and he wasn’t alone but with him was an entire herd of black and white horses.

From them on, so they say, Tuvans do not throw the skull of a horse on the ground, but always hang it on a tree. This tradition was strongly preserved in Tuva until the 40s.

Konstantin Khlynov

Radik Tyulyush painting by Azhykmaa

Radik Tyulyush painting by Azhykmaa


Is there a connection between khöömei and shamanic rituals?

The shaman acts as the physical manifestation of supernatural forces. As a representative of an animistic religion, the shaman, like ancient priests, used to heal people with the melodic, droning sounds of khöömei and with the khomus, which was known as aza dyly – the “devil’s tongue.” A few small silver bells were sewn onto the back of the shaman’s robe. According to the Tuvan shamaness Dürzü from Tsengel sumon (county) in the Bayan-Ölgii region of western Mongolia, simply the glint of the silver bells made all the evil spirits which are around immediately fly away.

The khomus a sounds of khöömei were traditionally considered to be paraphernalia of female shamans. Tuvan shamans believed that the ringing of the bells made black clouds disappear and evil spirits go away. Tuvans always thought of the bells that were attached to the back of shamanic robes as living beings, in many ways similar to humans.The belief in the beneficial effect of the bells sewn on the back of a shaman’s robe is based on the fact that humans’ inner organs are attuned to certain tones, and the whole body is a sensitive musical instrument that resonates with the surrounding sound field. The lower tones of khöömei have a calming effect, while the higher tones have a stimulating effect. The ringing of bells heals children with mental disorders. It was even a custom in Tuva to put people “possessed” by spirits “under the shaman’s robe,” as the evil spirits that beset such people could not endure the sound of bells. The same would be done to children who had suffered a severe fright. And when a woman gave birth to a child, the shaman would sing kargyraa.
Why were khöömei and kargyraa, when performed as part of shamanic rituals, associated with treating women during childbirth? Could it be that khöömei is a central energy “channel,” the “core* of the human body or of the spinal cord? The problem is how to teach every person to turn his attention inward, inside himself. Our internal being is the manifestation of that energy that is called the energy of the universe.




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Photo by  Alexandr Kryazhev

Photo by Alexandr Kryazhev