Originally from Connecticut, Robert McLaughlin is a young American musician who has been studying Tuvan music for almost a decade. Robert sings many of the styles of Tuvan vocal music. He plays Tuvan instruments such as the two-stringed Igil fiddle, three-stringed Doshpuluur lute, four-stringed bowed Byzaanchy, Khomus jaw harp, Shoor flute, and Murgu overtone flute. Robert also builds ethnic instruments. Robert's goal is to perform accurate representations of Tuvan music in an effort to share and preserve the culture of Tuva. He also wishes to share the important role that Tuva, and cultures similar to it, play for all of humanity. In these modern times, it is easy to forget where we came from as people. The revival of folk music traditions among many cultures may illustrate our craving for simpler, more nature-based lifestyles. Robert believes this time is critical, and that Tuvan music must be shared while the world is listening.
Robert has performed at many venues such as the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice in Phoenicia, New York, the L2 Think Tank at the Morgan Library in New York City, and on the Nickelodeon game show Figure it Out. He has also shared the stage with the Tuvan folk ensemble Alash.
Robert has performed in Tuva at the National Theater in Kyzyl. He took part in the "Dembildei" competition in 2017 and won third place among ninety-one contestants. Robert also Performed with the bluegrass/Tuvan music fusion group The Lost Americans and won Audience Favorite. (To see more about The Lost Americans, click here) In 2018, Robert performed in the Khoomei Symposium "Khoomei, the Cultural Phenomenon of the Peoples of Central Asia" and won first diploma in the traditional solo category.
Robert was also a member of the Central Asian folk metal band Tengger Calvary for two years. With Tengger Cavalry, Robert toured the US and played venues such as Carnegie Hall, Webster Hall, The Viper Room, Joe's Pub, and the New Haven Arts and Ideas Festival.