Bolot and Nohon are remarkable singers from the Altai Autonomous Republic, Russia.
For many years, this area was under the control of the Soviet Union, but with the breakup of the USSR, it became an independent republic within the Russian Federation. Altai's near neighbors include Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Tuva, the latter probably being most famous among world music aficionados for its throat-singing.
Uch Sumer is an album of songs from Altai, and throat-singing is front and center here. The liner notes define no fewer than four different styles of throat-singing, from the deep growl of karkiraa to the high whistling tone of sikit. When not throat-singing, the vocalists sing in a declamatory style.
The singers are Bolot Bayrishev and Nohon Shumarov, who accompany themselves on a variety of traditional instruments. These instruments include two lute-like instruments, a mouth-harp and a variety of wind instruments, some intended to lure wild deer.
Uch Sumer maybe is a lot of Altai music for the casual listener; it lasts over an hour and some individual tracks are almost 10 minutes long. For someone interested in the music of central Asia, however, this is a feast. The variety of sounds the singers produce is staggering, and what is perhaps more impressive is that a vocal technique that seems like a novelty to many westerners can produce such listenable songs.
The whole album is beautiful. Highly recommended.
01. Oh, Kosyjm
02. Blessing to Altai
06. Altin Kel
08. When Will Baatyrs Rise
09. World Axis
10. Snake's Lullaby
11. Bear's Lullaby
12. Call of the Forefathers
13. Morning in the Mountains
14. Dance of Cranes
17. Chu Chu Chu
18. Blessing to the Peak of the Üch-Sumer (Ak-Sümer)