Master Throat Singers from Tuva



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The word Chirgilchin has two translations: "dance of the air in the heat of the day" and "miracle". Established in 1996, Chirgilchin is a group of throat singers from Tuva, a small Russian province north of Western Mongolia. Chirgilchin's music tells stories of their homeland, its horses and its people. Tuvan songs are sung in minor pentatonic scale, similar to American blues. The monotone sustained notes that branch out into overtones with slight shifts in pitch give Tuvan throat singing its characteristic buoyant yet meditative drone quality. Throat singing is an extraordinary vocal form in which one singer produces two or more voices simultaneously, the low sounds in the throat harmonizing with middle and high flute-like overtones, to create richly layered melodies that evoke images of Tuvan steppes and nomadic life. Atmospheric and mesmeric, throat singing is almost too difficult to describe in words and must be heard to be believed. The most advanced forms of throat singing come from Tuva, and the members of Chirgilchin are among the best and most accomplished throat singers in all of Tuva.

Igor Koshkendey

Igor Koshkendey is a "Throat Singer of the People of the Republic of Tuva" directs the Tuvan National Cultural Center in Kyzyl. In 1998, Igor took the top prize at the International Competition of Throat Singing in Kyzyl, Tuva’s capital. During Chirgilchin’s second international tour, Igor won the Grand Prix at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, North Wales. He went on to win the International Competition of Throat Singing in Tuva again in 2002. Igor is known around the world for his mastery of multiple styles of throat singing, and especially for being the only throat singer to master the techniques first invented by legendary throat singer Vladimir Oidupaa. Today, Igor directs the Tuvan National Cultural Center for traditional arts, and tours around the world with Chirgilchin. His illustrious musical career shows no sign of slowing down - in 2017 he won a Latin Grammy for Best Urban Song for his collaboration with Puerto Rican musician Residente.

Aidysmaa Koshkendey

Aidysmaa is a founding member of Chirgilchin. She has an amazing voice with a formidable transportive quality. She is considered a national treasure, and a featured soloist of the Tuvan National Philharmonic ensemble. Though Tuvan music is most often associated with throat singing, Aidysmaa's vocal mastery of the long song genre speaks to the important role of the female voice in Tuvan folklore. Aidysmaa's performances are always a highlight of Tuva’s yearly cultural throat singing festivals.  In July 2003, Aidysmaa won Best Female Voice in the International Competition of Throat Singing in Tuva. She has toured with Chirgilchin throughout Belgium, Holland, France, Italy, Norway, and the USA.

Mongoun-ool Ondar

Mongoun-ool is one of the most decorated throat singers in the world. He is a "Throat Singer of the People of the Republic of Tuva", as well as the first Tuvan ever to be recognized as an "Artist of the People of Russia". Beginning his throat singing studies at the age of 13, Mongoun-ool went on to win the International Competition of Throat Singing at the age of 16. He has mastered six styles of throat singing and even invented his own. His incredible solos can express and inspire profound feelings of tragic sadness or blissful joy, with a complexity that would astound John Coltrane or Jimi Hendrix. His singing is, without a doubt, guaranteed to blow your mind

Aidyn Byrtaan-ool

Aidyn is the newest member of Chirgilchin, replacing Aldar Tamdyn after he became the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Tuva. Over the years, Aidyn has performed with several Tuvan ensembles, including the Tuvan National Orchestra. Aidyn studied under Kongar-ool Ondar, who held the esteemed honors of People's Throat Singer of the Republic of Tuva, and Honored Artist of Russia. Under the direction of Mr. Ondar and as a member of the folk ensemble Ertine, Aidyn has performed at international festivals in Germany and France, and competed in throat singing competitions at home and abroad. Today, Aidyn is a soloist in the Tuvan National Folk Orchestra and a member of Chirgilchin. He commands a high level of professionalism in all traditional Tuvan instruments, and is a laureate of several international throat singing competitions and symposiums. He has toured the world as an ambassador of Tuvan culture with Chirgilchin and other groups. In addition to being a master throat singer, Aidyn is also a highly decorated archer. 


Chirgilchin Press

“Tuvan throat singing is a rarity in New York. But sung artfully in ensemble as it was recently at the Rubin Museum in Chelsea by Chirgilchin, the throat-singing champions of Tuva, a Central Asian nation on the border of Mongolia, the musical technique can be mesmerizingly beautiful.” –The New York Sun

“Hearing a throat singing concert is an astonishing experience that leads to a primitive dimension, where the self is drowned to become reunited with the fundamental nature around it.” - Pepperdine Graphic

“Dressed in richly embroidered blue silk robes with gold linings and thick black riding boots, Chirgilchin played to eager crowds last Sunday, blowing away music categories with their clear, brilliant, and unassuming mastery of throat singing. Their youthful friendly demeanor, and somewhat shy countenances belied an incredible vocal range. Though worlds apart from Americans, their earthy groove provided a bridge for mutual understanding.” -

“Chirgilchin is renowned for their mesmerizing vocal and instrumental performances, which are almost beyond description. Both atmospheric and rollicking at the same time, it is the indescribable multi-phonic vocal style of Khoomei that takes center stage in a Chirgilchin performance.” –Redwood Times

“The voices of three men turn into six distinct voices as each singer simultaneously produces two notes. Their voices are accompanied by the playing of small hand-crafted pine instruments that resemble cellos and banjos.” - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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