Huun Huur Tu
The xöömei quartet Kungurtuk was founded in 1992 by Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, brothers Alexander and Sayan Bapa, and Albert Kuvezin. Not long afterwards, the group changed its name to Huun-Huur-Tu, meaning "sunbeams" (literally "sun propeller"). The focus of their music was traditional Tuvan folk songs, frequently featuring imagery of the Tuvan steppe or of horses.
The ensemble released its first album, 60 Horses In My Herd, the following year. The album was recorded at studios in London and Mill Valley, California. By the time recording began for the follow-up, Kuvezin had left the group to form the more rock-oriented Yat-Kha. Kuvezin was replaced by Anatoli Kuular, who had previously worked with Khovalyg and Kongar-ool Ondar as part of the Tuva Ensemble. The new line-up recorded The Orphan's Lament in New York City and Moscow, and released it in 1994.
In 1995, Alexander Bapa, who had produced the first two albums, departed the group to pursue production as a full-time career. He was replaced by Alexei Saryglar, formerly a member of the Russian state ensemble Siberian Souvenir. A third album, If I'd Been Born An Eagle, recorded in the Netherlands, followed in 1997. This time, in addition to the traditional folk music, the group performed some rather more contemporary Tuvan songs, from the latter half of the 20th century.
In early 1999, the group released its fourth album, Where Young Grass Grows. For the first time on a Huun-Huur-Tu album, non-Tuvan instruments (except for the guitar) were featured, including harp, tabla, Scottish smallpipe and synthesiser. The album also features two excerpts of recordings made of Kaigal-ool and Anatoli singing whilst riding horseback on the Tuvan grasslands.
Huun-Huur-Tu participated in the 2000 BBC Music Live event, performing the opening and closing songs for a live, early morning broadcast from Snape Maltings. The following year, the group released their first live album.
In 2003, Kuular quit the group and was replaced by Andrey Mongush, an experienced teacher of xöömei and Tuvan instruments.
- 60 Horses In My Herd (1993)
- The Orphan's Lament (1994)
- If I'd Been Born An Eagle (1997)
- Where Young Grass Grows (1999)
- Live 1 (2001)
- Live 2 (2001)
- Best * Live (2001)
- More Live (2003)
- Spirits from Tuva (2003)
- Altai Sayan Tandy-Uula (2004)
- Fly, Fly My Sadness (1996)
- Mountain Tale (1998)
- Huun-Huur-Tu official site
- Huun-Huur-Tu photo gallery (JARO)
- Greek television advertisement featuring "Eki Attar" from The Orphan's Lament
- Directory of high-resolution photographs of the group
- Huun-Huur-Tu on On Point Radio, Aired January 13, 2006
- BBC Radio Awards for World Music, 2004
- Huun-Huur-Tu: Music Refracting Sunlight (Russia-IC.com article)
- Huun-Huur-Tu at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, August 2006
- Huun-Huur-Tu captivates audience with Tuvan music, October 2007
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