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Songs of the steppes

Discovering what is often called overtone singing, or sometimes harmonic singing, is a fascinating experience. For how does one conceive of a single person singing in two voices, simultaneously producing a tone and one of its harmonies? This vocal technique was notably developed by Mongolian singers, who call it khöömii, though we do find this technique in other traditions, such as in the polyphonies of Sardinia and in the songs of the South African Xhosa.

This series of concerts dedicated to overtone singing, and, more broadly to the music of Mongolia, is the result of an encounter with the ethnomusicologist Johanni Curtet. For over ten years this young researcher travelled across the country to find some of its greatest practitioners. Thanks to the rare presence of some of the tradition’s best practitioners, we can appreciate the magic of this unique art through several concerts, a show for the younger public, a documentary, a talk and an introductory workshop.

Laurent Aubert

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