10 October 2005

Celebrating Paul Pena

Paul PenaCover of Paul PenaI am saddened by not shocked to learn of the passing of Paul Pena. If his name doesn't ring a bell, perhaps you've not seen the wonderful movie Genghis Blues, an account of his discovery of Tuvan throat singing and his journey to Tuva, on which he meets Tuvan living legend Kongar-ol Ondar (who gave Pena the nickname "Earthquake") and enters a throat-singing competition. Ondar and Pena bond like long-separated brothers, blending their music and touring the countryside. Pena combined his blues background with his amazing self-taught throat-singing, which is also available on the CD version of Genghis Blues. Pena, who had been ill for some time, passed on October 1 at his home in San Francisco. This song from the soundtrack to Genghis Blues highlights the kargyrra form of throat singing, a low growling sound. (You can watch a short throat-singing demonstration here.)

Paul Pena & Kongar-ol Ondar: "Kargyraa Moan"

You can buy Genghis Blues on CD here, or as mp3s here
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