A voice that fascinates humans and lures creatures from the sea

by Rachel Baker on September 14, 2014

There is something truly primal about meditating outdoors, particular if its quiet enough for you to really hear the sounds of nature. The twittering of birds in the distance, the pitch of the wind as its rustling through leaves of nearby trees, the howling of uninhibited children laughing and yelling while at play somewhere in the distance where there are no adults to yell at them. Its all there; and they are all sounds our first ancestors probably heard.

The oldest form of music was developed through a technique called throat-singing. This is where two or more notes are produced at the same time. Native tribes in the Arctic still use throat-singing as a way to lure creatures to areas where the tribe is hunting. Typically, this is a tradition that has been passed down through the generations amongst the women.

I’m not sure I would use the word beautiful to describe it; but in a very basic way, when I closed my eyes and listened to the sounds of the file embedded at the link below, I couldn’t help but feel at peace with nature – and I am in my office space, not outside.

If you’ve never heard this form of music, do yourself a favor and take a listen…three times. The first time is just odd, the second time is vaguely entrancing, and then if listen one more time, with your eyes closed, you can almost get to that special primal place that is within each of us.

A voice that fascinates humans and lures creatures from the sea.

Throat singing, in which a singer can produce two or more notes at the same time, is one of the oldest forms of music. While not mainstream, most people’s exposures comes from the Tuvan throat singers, nomadic herdsmen of Central Asia, who have, literally, played Carnegie Hall. But throat singing can also be found in Africa and among the Inuit in northern Canada — and in the Russian far east province of Chukotka, where Letykai grew up in the tiny coastal village of Enmelen, close to Cape Bering, a descendant of a long line of marine mammal hunters.

For Letykai, learning throat singing was part of a tradition passed down among generations of women in her family.

“We learned from child,” she said in a thick Russian accent. “When I was young, I was learning like I see the bird, I should think about nature and I am like bird. Free, like nature.”

While Letykai has performed widely, including in Switzerland, Greenland, Canada and at the Sochi Olympics, this particular performance was in her home province, where the inaugural Beringia Arctic Games, a gathering of peoples from the circumpolar North, were held this July.

This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to Become a Patron or to follow on Twitter.

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