What a wonderful adventure. A blind Cape Verdean-American blues singer hears some strange music on a shortwave radio, and tracks it down as Tuvan throatsinging. It sounds like a whistle and a groan at the same time, and most people can’t believe it comes from one human mouth. Our hero, Paul Pena, not only re-discovers how to do on his own while sitting in his home, he also learns Tuvan language by translating English to Russian to Tuvan in Braille! He then winds up getting invited to perform in the first Tuvan throatsinging contest since such contests were allowed after the breakup of the Soviet Union. (Tuva, near Mongolia, is a small autonomous republic within the Russian Federation.) The film starts here as it follows this blind man into the heart of Mongolia to try to win a horse by groaning two notes at once while singing the Tuvan national anthem. It’s a wild and strange trip.
1999, 88 min
By Roko Belic
$3, Amazon Instant Video rental
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Available from Amazon