Газета "The Moscow Times" | октябрь 1992 г.

Место публикации

The beast goes on

I first heard Albert Kuvezin in the summer of 1990 in Alma-Ata.

Sitting at the jury table of the Voice of Asia pop contcst, I was gradually dozing off while an endless stream of slick pop and disco singers performed lip sync on stage.

Suddenly, an enormous roaring voice, so low it sounded almost subsonic, jolted me awake.

The voice was coming from a young, long-haired guy who looked like a monk from a Kung-Fu movie.

He was clanging two knives together, creating a perfect musical background for his primeval, ritualistic singing.

It was something I had never heard before on any pop or rock stage, i met Albert at my hotel the following day. He was 25 years old and came from a rock background. After playing guitar and singing with several bands in his native town of Kyzii, the capital of Tuva, near the Mongolian border, he got bored with pop and decided to study the ethnic music of his land.

Needless to say, Tuva offers a lot to the adventurous explorer in music. Their ancient tradition of "throat singing" is absolutely unique and includes such vocal tricks as singing in several voices simultaneously.

Eager to learn, yourig Albert went to distant villages in the taiga to watch shamanistic rituals and sing along with old hunters by the fire.

"I'm only starting to comprehend the art of Tuvian singing," he told me in Alma-Ata. "Real craft only comes with age."

Nevertheless, a sensation was born. Albert Kuverin, as a novelty ethno-tock act, was immediately signed up for numerous festivals. Last year at the

Interweek feast in Novosibirsk, he shared the bill with a famous British techno-dance group, The Shamen.

"He's unbelievable," said Will Sin of The Shamen after the gig. "This guy's got probably the lowest voice on Earth. We sampled his whole performance."

At the same festival Albert met Ivan Sokolovsky, a keyboard/computer manipulator from Moscow, who had played previously with "Night Avenue" and "The Center."

Impressed with each other's work, the two decided to record together.

called themselves "Yat-ha" — after the name of an ancient Tuvian harp that Albert plays. Their first album, "Antropophagia," will be released soon as a compact disc through BSA Records.

The album is an interesting recording that, unlike 99 percent of the pop music coming out of Russia, sounds neither Outdated or directly borrowed from a Western source.

"It was a challenge to work with Albert, because Tuvian singing is totally outside the European tonality," said Sokolovsky. "One can't play the usual chords to cope with it. So I had to create very unconventional arrangements."

For his part, Albert found it difficult to sing with normal rock bands; the result struck him as unnatural But he found Ivan's "brutal computer rhythms more to the point. They are both very modern and very organic in the context of what I'm doing."

The new shamanistic techno duo combination of an aggressive electronic dance framework and a spaced-out hollow voice makes it an unforgettable sonic experience.

"Yat-ha" is definitely the band to watch in Russia.

But as Aibert still lives in Kyzii and doesn't often have 10,000 rubles for a round-trip ticket to Moscow, the duo seldom play live. When they do, be sure not to miss it.

From Asia, Ethno-Rock, By Artemy Troitsky