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Paul Pena's Kargyraa Moan

From: Jonathan Mitchell
Length: 05:24

a blues singer discovers a new voice

Pena_small UPDATE from www.paulpena.com: We're sad to report that Paul passed away Saturday October 1, 2005 in the early evening at his apartment in San Francisco. He'd been through a long battle with Pancreatitis and Diabetes. This is a huge loss for all of us. During the the past 8 years, Paul's health has been on the decline and his quality of life was greatly diminished by the nearly constant state of pain that he was in. We can take comfort in knowing that he's no longer suffering. October 2, 2005 San Francisco Please be aware of Paul's passing if this piece is aired on your station. HOST IN: Songwriter Paul Pena (PAY-nuh) wrote the 70s-rock classic "Jet Airliner" (made popular when it was recorded by the Steve Miller Band), and he's been singing the blues since he was a kid. But after an unexpected encounter with the throat-singing tradition of Tuva (TOO-vuh), the blind blues singer recharted his musical life. He studied, practiced, and then flew all the way to Central Asia to compete in a Tuvan throat singing competition. Pena's full-throated rumble did very well. In this piece, Pena tells the story of how he discovered Tuvan throat singing, and how he learned the technique. HOST OUT: The singer Paul Pena, performing in Tuva at the Khomei (KOH-may) Symposium and Contest a few years ago. He won in his division, and the film "Genghis Blues" chronicles Pena's visit to Tuva. Jonathan Mitchell produced our story. This piece orginally aired on Studio 360 in July, 2003.

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Piece Description

UPDATE from www.paulpena.com: We're sad to report that Paul passed away Saturday October 1, 2005 in the early evening at his apartment in San Francisco. He'd been through a long battle with Pancreatitis and Diabetes. This is a huge loss for all of us. During the the past 8 years, Paul's health has been on the decline and his quality of life was greatly diminished by the nearly constant state of pain that he was in. We can take comfort in knowing that he's no longer suffering. October 2, 2005 San Francisco Please be aware of Paul's passing if this piece is aired on your station. HOST IN: Songwriter Paul Pena (PAY-nuh) wrote the 70s-rock classic "Jet Airliner" (made popular when it was recorded by the Steve Miller Band), and he's been singing the blues since he was a kid. But after an unexpected encounter with the throat-singing tradition of Tuva (TOO-vuh), the blind blues singer recharted his musical life. He studied, practiced, and then flew all the way to Central Asia to compete in a Tuvan throat singing competition. Pena's full-throated rumble did very well. In this piece, Pena tells the story of how he discovered Tuvan throat singing, and how he learned the technique. HOST OUT: The singer Paul Pena, performing in Tuva at the Khomei (KOH-may) Symposium and Contest a few years ago. He won in his division, and the film "Genghis Blues" chronicles Pena's visit to Tuva. Jonathan Mitchell produced our story. This piece orginally aired on Studio 360 in July, 2003.

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Review of Paul Pena's Kargyraa Moan

All I can say is, musician or no musician, you should take a few minutes to listen to this piece. This piece introduces us to two new subjects, Paul Pena, and Tuvan throat singing. 'Throat singing!', you might exclaim, but I will bet you, after you listen to this piece you'll want to give it a try.

I'd accidentally stumbled into 'Genghis Blues' couple of years ago. I guess you'll have to look that title up to see what I mean.

But first, listen, listen to this piece. Notice how Jonathan introduces Paul and the unusual music (if you don't know about it).
A great example of radio verite. That term doesn't exist, you say? Now it does.

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Review of Paul Pena's Kargyraa Moan

Can you whistle and hum at the same time?

That trick contains something of the dissonance of harmonic singing (though Tuvan throat singers don't whistle Dixie, or anything else – they just sound like they've got stereo vocal chords double-barreling out of a singular throat).

Jonathan Mitchell's arts feature "Paul Pena's Kargyraa Moan" is composed of terrific notes: ethereal short-wave radio waves, an international treasure hunt, a serendipitous used record store discovery, a ruined Discman, and howls of frustration that, in harmonic convergence, turn sweet. Eventually, "Big Old Jet Airliner" lands in Central Asia for some Tuvan throat singing. There's a lot of story here.

Jonathan Mitchell is a marvel, a musician in producer's clothing. All his work is informed by his training, background, and talents in music. Here, interview is overlayed on interview, producing a richness of time and location that's astonishing in five-and-a-half minutes. And all the while, Mitchell is masterfully orchestrating a quartet of otherworldly songs.

The sheer focus of "Kargyraa Moan" is its broader limitation, though. It's a microscope set in the laboratory of Studio 360's "The Voice" edition, and MDs will be required to build out something more than the accompanying Host i/o to land this Big Ol' trippy tremolo back onto the public radio dial. Mitchell has "carried me too far away" to come back to regular melodic music so fast. Maybe Jonathan will refashion this vision for wider redistribution

Broadcast History

originally broadcast on Studio 360, July 2003

Musical Works

"Alash Hem (The Alash River)"
by Kongar-Ol Ondar, from "Genghis Blues Soundtrack" (Six Degrees Records)

"Ondarnyng Ayany (Ondar's Medley)" by Kongar-Ol Ondar from "Genghis Blues Soundtrack" (Six Degrees Records)

"Kongurey (Where Has My Country Gone?)" by Kongar-Ol Ondar from "Genghis Blues Soundtrack" (Six Degrees Records)

"Kargyraa Moan" by Paul Pena from "Genghis Blues Soundtrack" (Six Degrees Records)

Related Website

http://www.studio360.org