Kongar-ol Ondar 'not replaceable'
Kyzyl – Arab Today
Throat singer Kongar-ol Ondar, known for his ability to sing two notes at the same time, died in his native Russian republic of Tuva, a friend said. He was 51.
The Siberian singer died after surgery for a brain hemorrhage July 25, friend Sean Quirk said.
Ondar brought traditional Tuvan throat singing to the Western world, where the technique was relatively unheard of until the 1980s.
Quirk told Reuters that Ondar was “not replaceable”.
"There's so much of Tuvan culture that's concentrated in him and who he was. He was the ambassador of Tuva."
"If it wasn't for him, two-thirds of the band that I work with might be out in the steppes throat singing and herding horses," Quirk added.
"Throat singing would still be around without him. But it would not be nearly as widespread or as popular in Tuva or the world."
Throat singing, which can take years to attain, involves vocalising one or more notes over the top of a basic pitch.
The technique is traditionally used by horse herders on the Tuvan and Mongolian steppes, and Ondar first brought the technique to the west as part of a group of Tuvan throat singers and horse herders invited to sing at a Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, in 1993.
It was on that trip that Ondar performed for the musicians Frank Zappa and Ry Cooder, who went on to use throat singing in his film Geronimo.
"More than any other Tuvan, Ondar has implanted throat-singing in the sphere of American popular culture," said Dartmouth College ethnomusicologist Theodore Levin.
Ondar performed three times in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, and once appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman.
"People had the bizarre sense that they understood everything Kongar-ol was saying even though he was not singing in English," said Roko Belic, a filmed a documentary about Ondar. "He could communicate in expression and song and touch people in a very deep way."
Additional source: UPI