Blind American blues singer Paul Pena discovered the art of throatsinging while listening to Radio Moscow on shortwave more than fifteen years ago. Emanating from the autonomous republic of Tuva, located between Mongolia and Siberia, multi-harmonic "khoomei" (throatsinging) remained almost unknown in the west until the 1990's. Genghis Blues charts Pena's incorporation of throatsinging into his own music and his entry in Tuva's singing contest in 1995.
 

By
David Stratton

3.5
A delightful documentary that is sure to inspire you.

The life of blind Creole-American blues guitarist Paul Pena is changed when, one night in San Francisco, he hears a Russian broadcast of a unique kind of singing - throat singing, coming from the tiny republic of Tuva. Utterly fascinated, Pena teaches himself the difficult art and, with a small group of friends and a camera crew, travels to Tuva, which is sandwiched between Mongolia and Siberia, to take part in a throat singing contest. There he meets master throat-singer Kongar-ol Ondar, and a friendship is born....

Music crosses all barriers, and this attractive, if rather elongated, documentary demonstrates that clearly. The tenacity of Pena is astonishing, and the warmth with which this blind stranger is greeted in the tiny country of Tuva is delightful to behold.

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1 hour 28 min

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