Tuva, Siberia, and Moscow - elkins
Melissa, Valentina Süzükei, and Yuriy in Tuva, March 2014.

Valentina Süzükei's work researching and preserving Tuvan culture is one of the main reasons I traveled to Tuva. According to Valentina, the heart of Tuvan music is about hearing "inside" sound (like a sonic microscope), unlike most other music which is constructed from the surface exterior of sounds (i.e. notes, pitches, etc). In Tuvan music, all musical movement that you hear (melodies, harmonics, and overtones) are actually coming from within a single note sung in a drone. Similar to how the color spectrum is revealed within light after it passes through a prism.

As Tim Hodgkinson (of Konk Pack / Henry Cow) wrote in his essay "Holy Ghost": "The impulse was to go inwards, to bring out the inner connectivity of a phenomenon, not to observe or manipulate its exterior. By filtering and amplifying the upper harmonics of a fundamental vibration we are unveiling its hidden life. Tuvan melody is the melody of a sound, the unfolding of the inner nature of a single sound that, in that moment, stands for all sound. I am reminded of a statement by the Romanian spectralist composer Iancu Dumitrescu when he spoke of his own musical project: 'The attempt to release or unveil the god that is living in every piece of base matter.' What this tells me is that the passage from imagination to realization in Tuvan art requires a coming to terms with the presence of physical matter so as to bring out what is already hidden in it. Artistic imagination is always fundamentally oriented towards an image that requires to be made in the real (i.e. 'this') world.”

Melissa, Valentina Süzükei, and Yuriy in Tuva, March 2014.

Valentina Süzükei's work researching and preserving Tuvan culture is one of the main reasons I traveled to Tuva. According to Valentina, the heart of Tuvan music is about hearing "inside" sound (like a sonic microscope), unlike most other music which is constructed from the surface exterior of sounds (i.e. notes, pitches, etc). In Tuvan music, all musical movement that you hear (melodies, harmonics, and overtones) are actually coming from within a single note sung in a drone. Similar to how the color spectrum is revealed within light after it passes through a prism.

As Tim Hodgkinson (of Konk Pack / Henry Cow) wrote in his essay "Holy Ghost": "The impulse was to go inwards, to bring out the inner connectivity of a phenomenon, not to observe or manipulate its exterior. By filtering and amplifying the upper harmonics of a fundamental vibration we are unveiling its hidden life. Tuvan melody is the melody of a sound, the unfolding of the inner nature of a single sound that, in that moment, stands for all sound. I am reminded of a statement by the Romanian spectralist composer Iancu Dumitrescu when he spoke of his own musical project: 'The attempt to release or unveil the god that is living in every piece of base matter.' What this tells me is that the passage from imagination to realization in Tuvan art requires a coming to terms with the presence of physical matter so as to bring out what is already hidden in it. Artistic imagination is always fundamentally oriented towards an image that requires to be made in the real (i.e. 'this') world.”