What is Tuvan music?
Tuva is a Turkic language-speaking republic on the northwest border of Mongolia.
Tuva has been a part of many different empires and Khanates over the centuries, including the Scythians, Uyghurs, Kyrgyz, and Mongols. Tuva is now a part of the Russian Federation.
Over time, Tuva has developed a unique culture that has a very special connection to their history and way of life. Being nomadic herders, Tuvans traditionally spend much of their time interacting with the natural environment around them. Being a musical culture, Tuvans found a way to use their voices to mimic sounds in nature and use these vocalizations to paint a picture of Tuva in the mind of the listener. After long periods of time, these sounds became refined and now exist as a true art form. The different styles of Khoomei, Sygyt, and Kargyraa can be heard being performed with traditional Tuvan instruments in folk ensembles, and also in more modern arrangements.
What is Tuva like?
Tuva is a very diverse place. In an area about the size of North Dakota, there are reindeer herders who live in the taiga, sheep and horse herders on the steppe, and dry regions where nomads herd camels. The temperatures are extreme, and can be as cold as -50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and around 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Tuva has a very beautiful and dramatic landscape with many mountains, rivers, springs, and lakes which are all deeply revered by the people.
Tuvan people traditionally live in yurts or Ögler and move to different camps for every season. The traditional way of life still thrives to this day, many herders can be spotted in the Tuvan countryside. The population of Tuva is over 300,000 with about 100,000 living in the capital city of Kyzyl. The Tuvan language is commonly spoken throughout the republic.