Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Whatever happened to Tannu Tuva? Years ago Richard Feynman asked this question, and his search for the answer (documented in the book "Tuva or Bust! Richard Feynman's Last Journey") introduced the world to Tuvan throat-singing. (It's a matter of personal taste whether you think that's a good thing or not.) But Tuva, which is so remote that you get there by way of Siberia, isn't just about ancient obscure folk-singing. Turns out they've got a thriving punk scene.

OK, so 'thriving' may be a bit strong of a word since it appears that the whole punk scene in Tuva revolves around one guy, Albert Kuvezin, but he seems pretty dedicated. Trained in traditional folk-singing but kicked out of the choir for singing badly, he turned away from music until one day he heard Sonic Youth and it changed his life.

His band Yat-kha just released an album of covers that inspired them... everything from Captain Beefheart to Kraftwerk. You can listen to their cover of Joy Division's Love will tear us apart (1.43MB MP3) and Motorhead's Orgasmatron (1.76MB MP3) online. They're starting a European tour this month.

More info on Tuva can be found at Friends of Tuva and TuvaOnline.