Jaw-dropping Throat Singing - Khoomei
The uniqueness of Khoomei - Throat singing has started to attract the attention of people all over the world in recent years. It has become one of the main reasons to travel to Mongolia for many visitors, who were amazed and wanted to hear Khoomei in person. Khoomei, which means "the root of the palate," is a vocal technique in which one person deliberately fills in multiple voices in a single voice. People around the Altai Mountains in Central Asia have inherited Khoomei from their ancestors, especially Mongolians. Let us familiarize ourselves with the wonder of throat singing.
/Altai Mountains by Batzaya Choijiljav/
Khoomei (or Khöömei) is believed to have originated from attempts to mimic natural sounds such as wind blowing, waterfowl, and birds chirping. Although there are some legends of the origin of Khoomei, it is difficult to determine exactly when the Khoomei tradition originated. Usually, men practice Khoomei, but women also started practicing Khoomei about thirty years ago. Khoomei is a multifaceted and rich heritage of the Mongolian nation and a living and developing tradition.
MAIN STYLES OF KHOOMEI
Many methods of throat singing are divided into two main styles: Kharkhiraa and Isgeree.
Kharkhiraa (Deep Khoomei): When practicing Kharkhiraa, the throat singer takes a deep breath and makes a deep sound one octave below the main chord by making parallel contractions of the larynx, abdomen, and diaphragm to produce a background sound based on a compressed tube. In addition to the vocal cords, the vocal cords vibrate in a very deep, argyle melody, and the vocalist creates a delicate melody on it.
Isgeree (Whistled Khoomei): When practicing Isgeree, the throat singer takes a deep breath and makes a narrow whistle that sounds one or more octaves above the main vowel by pressing the choke, abdomen, and diaphragm in parallel to produce a background sound based on a compressed tube. In this way, the background sounds like a very clear and subtle sound that rings over the vowel. Isgeree khoomei is also known as Nariin khoomei, Uyangiin khoomei, and Altai light khoomei.
THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF HUMANITY
In 2010, Mongolia's traditional throat singing was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Mongolian artists who practice throat singing stepped into international stages to introduce the wonder of Khoomei.
In 2015, “Khusugtun” Ethnic Band competed and finished as runner-up in the first edition of “Asia’s Got Talent” and introduced wonderful throat singing to Asia, the largest continent in the world.
Then, the Mongolian rock band “HU”, who uses Khoomei in their singing style, rocked the world with their music. Their song “Yuve Yuve” has got an astonishing record of more than 60 million views on Youtube, which is 17 times as the population of Mongolia. The big milestone was the song "Wolf Totem" reached No. 1 on Billboard's Hard Rock Digital Song Sales, making The Hu the first Mongolian musical act to top a Billboard chart.
Mongolians are proud of these artists’ accomplishments and dedication to advertising the country and the unique intangible cultural heritage of the throat singing culture worldwide.
If you want to listen to throat singing with your ears, travel to Mongolia, and experience it in person.