Hi Reddit! I have received such fantastic feedback after this recent post. I'd love to answer any of your questions about my process and the art of Tuvan throat singing (Khöömei). AMA!

Proof

Here's a fantastic video introduction about my work.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookYouTubeSoundCloud

You can find my first two albums at Beta-lactam Ring Records.

My more recent albums are at Projekt Records.

Chris from BlRR just informed me that he wants to send a free sampler to those that send their name, address, and mention of Reddit to [email protected].

My Uger-Khan album, Tergiinner Yryzy (Songs of the Masters) is now available on Bandcamp.

Update #1: I treasure this conversation. Thanks for all the questions. I'll be taking a break and will return to answer more of your questions tomorrow. Shude! E(:+O<-

Update #2: Wow! I'm back and feeling really blessed by all your good thoughts and support. I'm ready to continue our conversation today.

Update #3: Thanks again for this wonderful discourse. I loved the questions. It was great to get into some really substantive topics. I still have a lot to answer, so I'll be back later. Shude (Tuvan for giddy-up)! E(:+O<-

Update #4: It's been so wonderful interacting with all you guys. It's always good for me to go in and rediscover my motivations. Answering your questions certainly did that for me. For those that I haven't personally replied to yet, check my comment history because it's likely I answered your question there. By the way, if you're serious about learning throat singing, I'm offering Skype lessons. Get ahold of me on Facebook.

I hope my art inspires you to seek your own shining path and to sing at no matter what level you are. I feel truly blessed by all the love and support you've given me. I can't thank you enough. Like the Tuvans say, I wish you a white road. E(:+O<-

Thanks for the gold!

Comments: 1186 • Responses: 27  • Date: 

osamasbigbro934 karma

Generally how do people you have seen react when you say you are a legitimate throat singer. Do they laugh? Do they recognise it as an actual job? Do they ask for a few moves? And how did it feel being XXXed not because you were unskilled, but because you failed to adhere to the majorities tastes in music.

soriahmusic2165 karma

Well most people aren't acquainted with the art form itself. So, I'm pretty forgiving of that. When they hear it, it usually hits people out of the blue. It resonates with some ancient part of ourselves, something timeless. People aren't really used to these frequencies or even doing any sort of self reflection which throat singing tends to evoke. It's much easier to push it away or mock it. I knew this going in.

I had no illusions that I would win a million dollars or get a Las Vegas show. I just wanted to educate people about these frequencies and the Tuvan culture. I wasn't prepared how unwilling the audience and Curly, Moe and Larry were to being cultured. I guess that's on me. Oh well, no regrets.

lannhues871 karma

Was the experience on the show really as shitty as it seemed, or did they do any creative editing to make it seem much worse/better?

Much respect for what you do, it obviously takes a considerable amount of skill.

soriahmusic1332 karma

As terrible as it seemed, in life it was much worse. That being said, the editing (hard as it may be to believe) wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Let's just say reality TV is far from it.

TheOnlyAccount492 karma

How do you make two tones at once?

soriahmusic1070 karma

That's a good one. Thanks for asking. It's a matter of harnessing the tone simultaneously using the shape of your mouth, which creates an overtone (or two notes at once). Anybody can make an overtone.

Try this.

Vocalize a long "ah" vowel. AHHHHHHH. And then change it to an "ooh" sound. AHHHHHHH-OOOOOOH-AHHHHHH-OOOOOOH. The simple act of making a vowel sound automatically produces an overtone. The overtone becomes more apparent when you shift from one vowel to another.

Islander1776467 karma

The only exposure to throat singing I've had was the episode of Marco Polo with the Mongol Warriors sitting around a fire throat singing. It was pretty badass. Are there any other TV shows you'd like to get on?

soriahmusic510 karma

For soundtrack work, it'd be awesome to get on True Detective. I made a stab at trying to get on the soundtracks for the Star Wars movies. Maybe for Episode VIII. ;) And I'd also like to get on the Price is Right! I can hear it now... "Soriah, come on down."

GenocideSolution254 karma

Can you describe how exactly you create the sounds of throat singing?

soriahmusic385 karma

It's a controlled tensing of the larynx, a forceful push with the diaphragm, controlled and rhythmic movements with the tongue and mindful shaping of the mouth.

metaranha238 karma

How do you end up getting involved in this type of activity?

soriahmusic392 karma

Follow your inspiration. My journey with Khöömei or Tuvan throat singing began after seeing a live performance by Huun-Huur-Tu in 1998.

I taught myself from a bootlegged recording I made of that performance. Then, six years later I participated in a throat singing camp with Chirgilchin.

HaikuberryFin209 karma

How much of a role

do you think your wardrobe played

in there reaction?

soriahmusic595 karma

Unconventional

regalia triggers a

fear of the unknown.

f1zzz90 karma

For the record, I thought the wardrobe was awesome!

soriahmusic163 karma

Thanks! I would love to tell you the story of how it came to be, but honestly would take me all night. Let's just say that it was infused with some pretty intense spiritual energy. I may come back and give you the longer version.

MunificentDouglas207 karma

Does your throat ever bleed or hurt at all?

soriahmusic380 karma

I can actually throat sing after I've lost my regular speaking voice. I do, however, try to keep my voice healthy and to not push it too hard. Any singer is in danger of developing vocal nodes. There is a point where my timbre loses a crispness. I can hear it and that's when I usually back off.

danceonthesun171 karma

Can you tell us more about Tuva and Tuva culture?

soriahmusic345 karma

Tuva is situated north of western Mongolia and is a semi-independent republic of the Russian Federation. The Tuvans are, for the most part, still a nomadic culture. 99% of the country is untouched nature.

They have a very strong connection with Genghis Khan. They consider him a Tuvan. They maintain many customs and practices from that time.

They are a horse culture. They say that one only sees a whole Tuvan when the Tuvan is on his horse.

They are also known for the art of Khöömei (Tuvan throat singing). This art is the product of a profound connection with nature.

metaranha144 karma

What kind of vocal warm ups do you do before performing?

soriahmusic270 karma

I like to take lessons from my studies in classical Indian music to warm up my voice. Long, drawn-out tones--not forced. It's a meditative exercise. With a shot of whiskey. ;)

f1zzz80 karma

What's your preferred whiskey?

soriahmusic241 karma

For the time being, it's Bulleit.

MattFiresideChat142 karma

Have you gained any employment because of your skills?

soriahmusic295 karma

Yes. For example, I have been asked to perform at many festivals around the world, such as Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Leipzig, Germany and the Sayan ring festival in the Krasnoyarsk region, Siberia. Here's a video of that performance. I have also done commercial projects, as heard in the soundtrack of this amazing DC Shoes video. I would like to do more work in film and sound design.

expensivepens86 karma

wow, that DC video sounded amazing man.

soriahmusic66 karma

Thanks!

Mrfrunzi111 karma

Two questions.

  1. You've got an amazing gift, but do you think you could have made a Vegas style show out of it?

  2. Which judge do you want to punch the most?

soriahmusic279 karma

  1. My intention was never to make it to Vegas. That being said, I think that with the proper funding and venue, I could have made an incredible show. (Not Vegas-style.) I was pretty limited to what I was allowed to do on the show.

  2. First of all, that's a really hard question... it's like asking which one of your kids do you love the most. ;) Please don't forget Nick Cannon.

the_awkward_turtle_106 karma

In high school choir last year we explored throat singing like that and we went through so many youtube videos for examples. We found a couple videos of you and we were blown away. Would you say anyone can train themselves to sing like that?

Also, though pretty unrealistic, you're welcome to come visit our choir at any time (Texas).

soriahmusic93 karma

It helps to have some prior vocal training, but it's not necessary. The main thing is to have a deep love for the music. I, myself grew up in choirs and was a vocal performance major at one point. Keep singing no matter what.

Thanks, I'm touched by the invitation!

Beelzebubs-Barrister105 karma

If you are internationally recognized, what prompted you to go on America's Got Talent?

soriahmusic441 karma

Like I've said in a few other previous posts, my intention wasn't to go to Las Vegas or win a million dollars. But, my motivation was something entirely different altogether.

When I was first offered the opportunity to audition, I got the greatest kick out of imagining some beer-swilling couch potato who lives in the middle of nowhere channel-surfing, clicking from one station to the next... click .. click .. click .. EEEEEEEE-AHHHHHHHHH-OOOOOHHHHHHHHH .. click .. click .. not even consciously recognizing what just happened. ;)

poop_flavored_pee91 karma

Can you recommend some Tuvan singers to listen to? Someone who exemplifies the genre or that you appreciate.

soriahmusic163 karma

Absolutely! There are many under-appreciated masters. Some I have had the great honor of studying with in Tuva. First of all, I would highly recommend Chirgilchin. Also, the Alash Ensemble and of course Huun-Huur-Tu.

Inochizo13 karma

Is there anything with vocals or throat singing that you aspire to or you would like to learn?

soriahmusic39 karma

My main concern now is to apply nature to technique. To divine the moment.

f1zzz57 karma

Did you perform at Burning Man? If so, how was your music received?

soriahmusic129 karma

I've performed many times at Burning Man from 1999-2006. My music was very well received. I would never have a problem finding an amazing venue to perform every night I was there.

The zenith of my Burning Man experience was in 2006 at the Belgian installation they called Euchronia--but what was commonly known as the Belgian Waffle. It was a massive cave structure made entirely out of 1x3 boards tacked together that stood at least four stories tall.

RicksterCraft51 karma

Does this hurt your throat at all? Or is it sort of like toughening up through exposure?

Also, strep throat must suck for you. :(

soriahmusic88 karma

At first, it did hurt. But now it's as easy as breathing.

It is very much like developing muscles that you didn't know you had.

sagewizdums42 karma

Can anyone do this type of singing with practice? Or is it like, say, opera or something where some people's voices just can't hit the pitches or learn the muscle control?

soriahmusic89 karma

I won't say everyone can do it. Some people are tone deaf or have other issues that hinder them from singing. My experience teaching is that many of my students are surprised by how quickly they pick it up. Most people's barriers are psychosomatic. Sometimes it just takes a different mental approach to unlock the physiology needed.

YahYahY38 karma

Hi Soriah!

Would one have to sacrifice other types of singing (opera or classical) to be able to reach a high level in throat singing?

soriahmusic81 karma

No, not at all. I'm one of Portland's Karaoke from Hell champions!

Inochizo36 karma

I so enjoy this music and your voice. Where can I buy it? I have no idea where to even look for this kind of unusual stuff.

PaintWithRazorblades30 karma

Were you surprised when you got three Xs?

soriahmusic88 karma

Not in the least. ;)

NickyNeptune20 karma

Dude. Nice job! Any tips on technique?

soriahmusic54 karma

The most important technique is to train your ear to hear overtones. That way, you can compare and contrast what you do to the natural world. Overtones are everywhere in nature: the wind, rivers, animals. Overtones are also everywhere in technology: leafblowers, fluorescent light hums, engines, etc.

d2dd17 karma

First off, I love your name!

My question is, what instruments (if any) usually accompany throat singers?

Also, could throat singing be done in groups, as in, is there a concept of harmonizing in throat singing?

soriahmusic29 karma

Throat singing is usually accompanied by an instrument. The most common accompanying instrument to any Tuvan throat singer is a two-stringed horse-headed bowed instrument called the Igil. And another is the Doshpuluur.

Yes, throat singing can absolutely be done in groups. For example, Chirgilchin, Alash Ensemble, and Huun-Huur-Tu.