e-ISSN: 2625-378X
p-ISSN: 2701-2689


The First USA Performance of Tuvan Throat Singers

Kleikamp, Bernard

ASIAN-EUROPEAN MUSIC RESEARCH JOURNAL 9 (2022)     pp: 113-118     2022-06-27

Stichworte/keywords: Tuva, Throat singing, Ensemble music, Concert organisation, Traveling musicians

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Kleikamp, , & Bernard, (2022). The First USA Performance of Tuvan Throat Singers. ASIAN-EUROPEAN MUSIC RESEARCH JOURNAL, 9 , 113-118. doi:10.30819/aemr.9-10
doi = {10.30819/aemr.9-10},
url = {},
year = 2022,
publisher = {Logos Verlag Berlin},
volume = {9},
pages = {113-118},
author = {Kleikamp, Bernard},
title = {The First USA Performance of Tuvan Throat Singers},

Until the 1990s khöömei or throat singing from Tuva was virtually unknown outside the then-USSR. Russian researchers like Aksenov and Shchurov had published the results of their fieldwork in Tuva, but their work was hardly known outside the USSR. In the 1980s researchers from outside the USSR like Tran Quang Hai and Ted Levin started paying attention to the subject, but it took until the early 1990s before a Western audience could make its acquaintance with Tuvan throat singers on stage. I ran the Paradox concert agency from 1978 until 2003, and it so happened that Paradox was the first to bring Tuvan throat singers to Europe and to North America in the early 1990s. The Iron Curtain had just fallen and it became possible to invite musicians from behind the Curtain without assistance from state agencies. Paradox had ample previous experience with state agencies in visa and work permit procedures. and that expertise proved very useful in dealing directly with musicians and music ensembles and their representatives then. My essay presents the story of the first concert of Tuvan khöömei singers in the USA in 1992 to which I was an eye witness (and also shortly explains the process of throat singing). This is an iconic story, because not only it describes how concert tours were organised in an age before the internet but also it documents the start of a hype. After that first concert in just a few years bands from Tuva were travelling all over the world and many audiences got to experience the phenomenon of throat singing. But in 1992 it was all new.
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