Artist Profiles: Chirgilchin

Chirgilchin – Photo by Gary Ehlenberger

Chirgilchin are the 1998 champions of the Tuvan national throat singing competitions in Kyzyl the capital of Tuva. Chirgilchin means either mirage or miracle in the Tuvan language.

In 1996 Alexander Bapa also the founder and producer of Tuvan Throat Singing group Huun Huur Tu gathered the cream of the younger generation of Tuvan musicians and formed Chirgilchin. One of the group’s more extraordinary features is the appearance of a Female Throat Singer which is still quite uncommon in Tuva.

All Chirgilchin’s songs are in the Tuvan language and the group plays instruments such as the Doshpuluur – a kind of lute with two strings the Igil – a violin with two strings the Limbi – a trapezoid harmonic soundbox Flute and the Dymbra – a rattle drum used by the Tuvan Shamans in their rituals.

 

Chirgilchin

 

A Chirgilchin performance will also get the public acquainted with shamanism. The Tuvan religious culture is primarily shamanistic but for some hundreds of years has also been strongly influenced by Tibetan Buddhism [or Lamaism as they call it]. Indeed many people note the relationship between some Tuvan throat singing styles and the religious chanting of Tibetan lamas.

Throat-singing or overtone singing is the audible expression of producing two or more notes at once. This startling technique was developed in response to the sounds of the natural environment in which Central Asian nomadic tribes roamed.

A particularly rich throat-singing tradition survives in Tuva and neighboring Mongolia. In these areas marked by vast grasslands and mountain ranges throat singing is called khoomei. The singer produces overtones by varying the shape of his mouth and pharynx; as a result two three or even four distinct tones can be heard at once. The fundamental tone remains constant while melodies are sung with the highest overtone resembling the sound of a flute.

Line-up:

Aydysmaa Kandan: female vocalist khomus (Tuvan mouth harp) tenchik (bells)

Mongoun-ool Ondar: throat singing (5 styles) igil morin-khuur khomus
vocals.

Igor Koshkendei: throat-singing (5 styles) igil morin-khuur doshpuluur khomus guitar.

Aldar Tamdyn: throat singing (kargyraa and khoomei styles) morin-khuur doshpuluur limbi igil

Alexander Bapa: founder producer arranger manager. Founder of Huun Huur Tu producer of their first two CDs (6 Horses in my Herd and The Orphans Lament)

Discography:

The Wolf and the Kid (Shanachie, 1996)
Aryskan’s Wind (1999)
Ezir-Kara (2002)
Collectible (2005)
Will Teach (2006)
Pictures of Tuva (2008)
Kaldak Khamar (2009)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

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