THE MYSTERY OF TUVAN KHÖÖMEI

What is the role of traditional clothing?

THE MYSTERY OF TUVAN KHÖÖMEI
What is the role of traditional clothing?
For outerwear, the Tuvan ton, a robe-like garment made of silk, was traditionally considered to be the most practical and functional. Silk is a very strong and durable material. The tradition of making tons from silk goes back centuries. Belts were usually made of either leather or silk. Silk belts are 5-6 meter-long strips of silk that are wrapped around the waist of ton several times. The method of tying a silk belt helps to prevent injury because it offers additional support when riding on horseback. A similar method is still used to protect the spines of post-operative patients in neurosurgical departments of hospital, but they use a cotton sheet instead of a departments of hospital, but they use a cotton sheet instead of a silk belt. Historically, nomads used a very strong, non-stretchable fabric as a belt or corset. Men most often used red silk, but with the penetration of Buddhism into Tuva, the belt gradually started to “yellow”
Snug-fitting ( but not too tight ) clothing will allow one to work comfortably, to be able concentrate on oneself, and to be able to breathe calmly and in a relaxed fashion using the pectoral muscles. You can see this among most of the professional khöömei masters-Sergei Ondar, Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, Igor Köshkendei, Andrei Mongush, Möngün-ool Ondar, Aldyn-ool Sevek, and others. When they are performing khöömei they close their eyes and joyfully immerse themselves in a creative state of inspiration as their innate natural energy awakens.
 
Consequently, the ethical value of ethnic music does not depend on the musician’s clothing, but rather on this moral make-up. Do not try to dazzle your listeners with the brilliance of your clothing. Good taste is like a good ear for music-you either have it or you don’t. You must respect your audience and show this respect both through your behavior and your dress. Learn how to smile, how to greet people. You have free will; learn how to use it to to change your surroundings. As a creative person you should be confident in your abilities. And you should strive to achieve your goals.
 
To reach the consciousness of your listener with your performance, you must be able to express the best side of your individuality. Learn to serve the art; do not try to make the art serve your own worldly purposes.
 
ZOYA KYRGYS
THE MYSTERY OF TUVAN KHÖÖMEI ( THROAT SINGING)
INTERNATİONAL SCIENTIFIC CENTER “KHÖÖMEI” REPUBLIC OF TUVA
This publication is protected by the law of the Russian Federation ob avtorskom prave ( ” On copyright”) .
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THE MYSTERY OF TUVAN KHÖÖMEI

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.

ZOYA KYRGYS

THE MYSTERY OF TUVAN KHÖÖMEI ( THROAT SINGING)

INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CENTER “KHÖÖMEI” REPUBLIC OF TUVA

This publication is protected by the law of the Russian Federation ob avtorskom prave ( ” On copyright”) .

Photo by  Alexandr Kryazhev

Photo by Alexandr Kryazhev


THE MYSTERY OF TUVAN KHÖÖMEI

 

THE MYSTERY OF TUVAN KHÖÖMEI ( THROAT SINGING)

What is the history behind the developement of khöömei?

The phenomenon of Tuvan throat-singing, with its various styles of performance, continues to amaze people. The spiritual world of the Tuvans, like their lifestyle itself, consolidated and embodied the freedom-loving impulses of the steppe dwellers, the inhabitants of Inner Asia.

If one imagines how endless a steppe road is, how unhurried a Tuvan horse’s tread or pensive a camel’s step is, how far steppe roads and mountain paths stretch, then it will not be difficult to realize that the life of a Tuvan in the steppe is inconceivable without sygyt-khöömei, a symbol of the Tuvan steppe that is as quiet, measured, and interminable as life itself. It is not without reason that Tuvans puzzled ethnographers when they could not answer the question: “How old are you?” The matter was not that they were unable to count. This question itself made no sense to them because time per se was an abstract notion.

Nature created a striking acoustic effect in the mountains and steppes of Tuva, where every loud word echoes with deafening reiterations. Over time Tuvans learned how to extract from these sounds the incomparable melodies that are the hallmark of the Tuvan national singing tradition. This is why from time immemorial Tuvan throat singing has been the eternal companion of singers and storytellers.

A khöömeizhi was a welcome and honored guest in any yurt, who always gave his listeners the gift of his music, born in the heart and soul of his people. The melodies of khöömei accompanied the Tuvan people in all their joys and sorrows.

Khöömei Is a phenomenon close to the soul of the Tuvan people a means of expressing the Tuvan worldview, a symbol of Tuvan spirituality, and the key to the spirit of the Tuvan people. It is in khöömei that Tuvans found consolation in their hour of need ancient times khöömei has helped Tuvans persevere, overcome hardships with dignity, and preserve their humanity.

If a nation loses its own unique identity, it will disappear from the face of the earth. Current data make it abundantly clear that not only of researchers, but also members of the younger generation are trying to preserve the art of singing, as well as the customs, rituals, and traditions of the Tuvan people. By exploring and researching Tuvan throat singing, we are able to revive all genres of musical culture long songs (uzun yrlar), short songs (kiska yrlar), refrains and ditties (kozhamyktar), as well as instrumental works for such traditional instruments as igil, byzaanchi, doshpuluur, khomus (mouth harp), and other bowed, plucked, wind, and percussion instruments

Khöömei is an art that attracts the attention not only of connoisseurs of folk music, but also of all those who would like to learn about the history of the music and the spiritual world of the Tuvan people, and of their lyrical and ritual songs. Every ethnic group has contributed to the development of human civilization and global cultural heritage. Tuvans likewise have their own contribution of great value, which has been passed down for centuries from generation to generation, and that is khöömei. Locals have preserved in memory several techniques of this art, including khöömei, ezengilleer borbangnadyr kargyraa, and sygyt.

ZOYA KYRGYS

THE MYSTERY OF TUVAN KHÖÖMEI ( THROAT SINGING)

INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CENTER “KHÖÖMEI” REPUBLIC OF TUVA

This publication is protected by the law of the Russian Federation ob avtorskom prave ( ” On copyright”) .