Huun-Hurr-Tu Live in Toronto, Nov 20, 2014

By Allister Thompson

I have a thing for Central Asian music, which I wrote about in this piece, so I won’t recap here why it’s so appealing to me. This year, me and the wife were looking for a concert because we buy tickets every year to some event around the holiday season, instead of buying each other Christmas presents. Past experiences have been varied, from okay to horrible … from a fun Queen tribute band to awesome Kodo drummers to Shen Yun, which we unfortunately were not aware is a thinly (very thinly) veiled propaganda show and not an actual accurate representation of Chinese traditional culture.

So, searching carefully around this year, I got lucky when I visited Small World Musics site for the first time; I’m not entirely unfamiliar with this group’s promotions but had not attended any of its events. Well, didn’t my eyes just pop out of my head! Huun-Huur-Tu, the kings of Tuvan music, or actually, maybe the kings of Central Asian music as a whole, were coming to play two shows in an intimate venue. Finally, a chance to hear and see khoomei, kargyraa and sygyt throat singing up close and personal, as well as the fabulous instruments the band plays. It was a bit like how a normal dude feels when he scores a Stones ticket or something; I was pretty damn excited. I listen to Mongol and Tuvan music all the time — a bit of a mainstay around here.

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