175

Yat-Kha: Yenisei-Punk

AAJ Staff BY

Sign in to view read count
Yat-Kha: Yenisei-Punk
Just when you thought vocal music couldn't sink any lower, Yat-Kha drops one more rung. Quite honestly, Albert Kuvezin's singing on Yenisei-Punk is subterranean. His childhood performances in a youth choir in southern Siberia resulted in early forced—but temporary—retirement. It seemed nobody had much patience for Kuvezin's idiosyncrasies.

And that's precisely the point. Dig this. Kuvezin's approach to song draws from a nearly-extinct style called kanzat. It's deep, dark, and beautiful. Known as "throat singing" outside his home in the Republic of Tuva, the pitch dips deeper into the bass than anything you've ever heard. Powerful rumblings, still melodic in our usual sense, often reveal individual waves of sound as they echo from Kuvezin's throat. Now I've got a bass voice myself, but this guy has unbelievable control and versatility. A lifetime's practice, apparently—at least the part past puberty!

The Siberian quartet known as Yat-Kha was formed in part to showcase the vocalist's skill within the context of traditional Siberian music. His guitar playing draws heavily from folk and blues idioms, rooting itself firmly in simple harmonies and quite often dwelling in the realm of the drone. (Blues lovers take note: this one may be right up your alley.)

And while these tunes may represent traditional staples of Tuva culture, they undergo a radical reworking in the process. It's doubtful that "Kamgalanyr Kuzhu-Daa Bar" has ever received much in the way of dripping blues lines and concluding trumpet fanfares. The opener offers a unique perspective on the Communist state: "What a beautiful Soviet country/ because socialism won there." Odd? Most certainly, to our foreign ears.

In the end Yenisei-Punk is exactly what its title implies. It's a definitive personal statement, made without reservation or pretense. Punk. What a welcome surprise to see this 1995 record reissued—remastered with extra tracks—for Western audiences to fully appreciate.

Track Listing

Solun Chaagai Sovet Churtum; Karangailyg Kara Hovaa; Kaa-Khem; Kuu-La Khashtyn Baaryndan; Kamgalanyr Kuzhu-Daa Bar; Irik Chuduk; Chashpy-Khem; Kadarchy; Chok-La Kizhi Yry; Een Kurug Kagban-Na Men; Toorugtug Taiga; Kargyram.

Personnel

Albert Kuvezin: vocals, yat-kha, guitars, homus; Alexei Saaia: morinhoor, vocals, t

Album information

Title: Yenisei-Punk | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Global Music Centre

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Daybreak
Susan Krebs
The Long Table
Jon Raskin
Tues Days
Jane Ira Bloom / Allison Miller
Alexis
Alexis Parsons
Future Memories
Mareike Wiening
What to Wear in the Dark
Kate McGarry + Keith Ganz Ensemble
Open World
Chad Lefkowitz-Brown and the Global Big Band

Popular

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.