Interview: Sayan Bapa of Huun Huur Tu

Since forming their group in 1992, the members of Huun Huur Tu have been the primary musical ambassadors of Tuva, a small Russian republic in Central Asia known for a uniquely beautiful singing style. Khoomei, also known as throat-singing or overtone singing, allows vocalists to produce two, three, and sometimes four notes simultaneously. The effect can be haunting and unearthly, somewhere between Howlin’ Wolf’s guttural blues growl and the eerie sound of a theremin. A single throat-singer can be awe-inspiring, and as a quartet, Huun Huur Tu’s power is jaw-droppingly intense, especially live. Collectively, Huun Huur Tu’s four singers are masters of the several different styles of khoomei, including the ghostly, whistling sygyt and the earthquake rumble of kargyraa. Huun Huur Tu’s latest, Altai Sayan Tandy-Uula, adds Western touches like keyboards and clarinet, but mostly continues the group’s penchant for traditional Tuvan sounds. Earlier discs worth exploring include 60 Horses In My Herd, The Orphan’s Lament, and a pair of concert CDs, Live 1 and Live 2. (For a different approach to blending Tuvan and Western music, check out ex-HHT singer Albert Kuvezin’s Yat-Kha, or the collaboration between San Francisco bluesman Paul Pena and Kongar-ol Ondar in the Oscar-nominated documentary Genghis Blues.) Huun Huur Tu’s current North American tour runs through February. The A.V. Club talked with founding member Sayan Bapa.

Originally published Jan. 31, 2006 on Read the complete article.

Interview: Brian Wood & Ryan Kelly of Local

They say you can’t go home again, but Megan McKeenan will get a dozen tries at it in writer Brian Wood and artist Ryan Kelly’s compelling comic-book series Local, a 12-issue anthology following its fiercely independent heroine through an itinerant life across 12 years and 12 cities, mostly avoiding the megalopolises in favor of mid-size cities like Richmond, Virginia; Burlington, Vermont; and Austin, Texas. Wood is also writing two other comics, the post-apocalyptic New York tale DMZ and the forthcoming cyberpunk thriller Supermarket; Kelly draws Lucifer for DC/Vertigo and teaches illustration and comic art at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. The series’ first issue is set in Portland, Oregon, home of Local’s publisher, Oni Press. The second issue, which came out last month, is set in Minneapolis in 1995, and features such local landmarks as The Wedge, Hum’s Liquor, and now-defunct record store Oar Folkjokeopus. The A.V. Club talked with Wood and Kelly about Local.

Originally published Jan. 18, 2006 on Read the complete article.

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