Tuwa / Hong Kong / Germany 1996/97
Dir: Gerd Conradt , Daniela Schulz
45 min., Video, WP
Produktion: Gerd Conradt Videoproduktion. Buch: Gerd Conradt, Daniela Schulz. Kamera: Gerd Conradt. Ton: Daniela Schulz. Musik: Yat-Kha. Avid-Schnitt, Tonbearbeitung: Uli Peschke, Tommi Schütze. Schnitt Clip: Dieter Jaufmann. Organisation Tuwa: Lu Edmonds. Titelgraphik: Annette Wetzel.
Darsteller: Albert Kuvezin und Familie, Alexei Saaia und Familie, Jevgenij Tkachov, Lu Edmonds, Olar Makarol Sewionowitsch, Gena Tchamzyrin, Familie Badi-Sagaan, Dina Oiun und Bewohner Kyzyls und Schagonars.
Uraufführung: 18.2.97, Internationales Forum des Jungen Films.
Weltvertrieb: Videoproduktion Gerd Conradt, Westfälischestr. 54, D-10711 Berlin. Tel.: (49-30) 893 25 22. Fax: (49-30) 893 25 98.
Tue 18.02. 17:30 Arsenal
The centre of Asia is located in Kyzyl, the capital of the autonomous republic of Tuwa. Here, at the obelisk which marks the geographical centre of Asia, we meet the young musician Albert Kuvezin. Albert is a "Khomeizi" - a larynx singer. Together with his band Yat-Kha he combines the centuries old technique of ,singing with the larynx' with contemporary rock music. Yat-Kha takes the traditional Tuwinian upper and lower voice songs, with Albert singing two or three voices simultaneously, interweaving them with dance rhythms. Yat-Kha's greatest challenge is their concert during the "Festival of Asian Arts" in Hongkong in the autumn of 1996. During this great Asian art and music festival in the economic centre of Asia, Yat-Kha will represent "Asia's Centre". We accompany the Tuwinian musician on a journey through his home country during his preparations for the concert and the creation of a music video. No matter where we go, each time the trip is a journey to Albert's musical roots: whether we visit his parents who ritually slaughter a sheep for us, or his aunt in Tshercassia who lives at the banks of the largest reservoir of the Russian Federation, or whether we meet goat and horse shepherds who live in jurts, whether we experience the national holiday where traditional horse games and wrestling matches are customary, but also breakdancing in front of Lenin's statue, or whether we meet the Tuwa's oldest national actor at home, or an old shaman on the street, or visit a Buddhist temple. The film shows how Albert Kuvezin and the band Yat-Kha work with these impressions, carrying songs and melodies into the world of modern, enigmatic Hongkong, which stands in stark contrast to the calmness of Tuwa. Repeatedly we see members of the band practising the song Dyngyldai for the music video. At the end of the film they perform in Hongkong where Albert Kuvezin creates a bridge between the traditional and the modern.
Khomei is the original tradition of ,singing with the larynx' which the Tuwin people developed to perfection in the course of centuries. It is the music of nomads, shepherds and hunters. This music imitates the sounds of animals and nature: the whistling wind, the buzzing of grasshoppers, the screams of the reindeers, the multi-voice choir of camels ... It could be claimed that it is an essential element of Tuwa's culture. Nature gave central Asian nomads a very special gift: they are able to sing a melody in two or three voices simultaneously, i.e. a basic tone (speech or melody) which is overlapped by a high melodic tone. The result is the special effect of ,larynx singing'. For a Tuwa national, Khomei is not simply a musical genre or an individual singer's special talent. Rather, it is a special form of thinking, perceiving, reflecting one's surroundings, the expression of one's deepest inner self. A philosophical consciousness. The shamans use the Khomei in their chants, their dialogues with spirits, the ,representatives of the life hereafter‘. I am beginning to believe that ,larynx singing' is the bridge between human beings and the cosmos.
The German national Otto Mänchen-Helfen was the first non-Russian visitor to the republic of Tuwa (TAR) in 1929. He describes this visit in his book ,Journey to Asian Tuwa':
"An eccentric Englishman...travelled the world with one single purpose in mind: to erect a memorial at the centre of each continent...he had already placed stones in Africa, North and South America when he took off for his journey to Asia. According to his calculations, the centre of Asia was at the banks of the upper Jenissei...I saw the stone in the summer of 1929. It is in Tuwa...in the republic of shepherds, located between Siberia, the Altai Mountain range and the Gobi desert, an inaccessible land for Europeans."
Republic of the Russian Federation, at the Mongolian border, the source of the Jenissei; 170 500 km2, 306 000 inhabitants; 64.3% Tuwinians, 32% Russians, 0,7% Tsherkassians, 0.7% Ukrainians and others; Religion: Buddhism, Shamanism; Capital: Kyzyl (90 000 inhabitants); the geographical centre of Asia is marked by the obelisk; enclosed by mountain ranges (Sajan, Tannu-Ola); intensive animal husbandry on the steppes and mountain meadows; on the Taiga hunting for valuable animal skins and reindeer breeding; rich in natural resources (gold, coal, iron, copper, asbestos, salt). Until 1912 Chinese, from 1912-14 and 1921-44 independent republic Tannu-Tuwa, then Tuwin. In the Russian Federation since 31.3.1992. President: Scherig-Ool Orschak.
Gerd Conradt was born 1941 and grew up in Thuringia, moving to Berlin in 1955. From 1966-68 he studied at the dffb (German Film and Television Academy Berlin). From 1973 he taught practical and theoretical video at different schools. Since 1982 he works as a director and producer.
1984: Der Videopionier (The Video Pioneer) 1986: Fernsehgrüße von West nach Ost (TV Greetings from West to East). 1987: EinBlick (In/One/Sight). 1991: Allegorie des Fernsehens (Allegory of Television) 1992: BlaubeerWald (Blueberry Forest). 1995: Hold Me - Love Me - Irene Moessinger und das Tempodrom.
Daniela Schulz was born in 1968. From 1988 to 1992 she studied at the university of Hildesheim, graduating with a degree in cultural pedagogy. She lives in Berlin. Since 1991 she worked in performance and documentary film.
© 1997 by International Forum of New Cinema. All rights reserved.