Friday, March 16, 2007

Mongolian Throat Singing Blues vs. Freestyle tunrtables and Human Beatbox

A nice freestyle with qbert behind the turntables and Sly of the Saian Supa Crew with his incredible human beatbox skills
Paul Pena played blues with the greats T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, and Bonnie Raitt. In 1995, the blind bluesman became the first American ever to compete in an unusual contest of multi-harmonic "throatsinging."

The Autonomous Republic of Tuva, wedged between Siberia and Mongolia, for centuries has been isolated from the rest of the world by jagged mountains and Soviet restrictions. Only recently have the Tuvan art form of throatsinging become known to outsiders.

Pena discovered Tuvan throatsinging on a shortwave program of Radio Moscow twelve years ago. Multiple voices emanated from a single vocalist and the sounds gripped him like nothing he had ever heard. For the next nine years he worked to produce similar overtones with his own voice and to incorporate throatsinging into his blues music.

Unexpectedly in 1993, Pena discovered that Tuvan throatsingers were on their first concert tour of the U.S.. After their performance, the deep-voiced bluesman broke into his own self-taught style of throatsinging and serenaded the musicians with Tuvan traditional songs! The throatsingers were amazed by Pena's mastery of the Tuvan art form and likened his rich voice to the sounds of tremors in the earth. They insisted that "Chershemjer" (Earthquake) travel to Tuva for the next tri-ennial throatsinging contest which would be held in 1995.

Eleven years after he first heard throat singing, Paul Pena entered the National Theatre of Tuva to make history. The blind bluseman's performance was so well received, he became the 1995 throatsinging champion in the style of kargyraa. He also captured the "audience favorite" award for the week-long competition. The Tuvan people had never seen or heard anyone like him.

Pena was honored by the Tuvan people, not only because he mastered kargyraa, but he also learned to speak their language. His friendship flourished with Kongar-ol Ondar, the throatsinging champion who had invited Pena three years earlier. Ondar hosted Pena as the bluesman experienced the country he once believed he would never visit.

"Genghis Blues" is a film about exploration and friendship. It is the story of a man whose struggle in life is not defined by conformity and rules but by an unquenchable curiosity, and love of music. Pena's story is truly an inspiration to all.


Paul Pena is the son of immigrants from Cape Verde, West Africa, and lives in San Francisco where he plays a unique blend of Mississippi Delta blues, Cape Verdian folk, and Tuvan throat music. As a blind Creole-American, Pena has continually struggled against injustice through the messages in his music. To Pena, his music represents the "inter-cultural harmony which is becoming increasingly important for the development of a sustainable world environment."

The Republic of Tuva, in the heart of Asia, was once an independent country whose people are proud descendants of the conqueror, Genghis Khan. Over one third of the population continues traditional nomadic ways of animal-herding.

For centuries after the collapse of Khan's empire, geographical, political, and cultural isolation resulted in the evolution of various unique and highly developed art forms in Tuva. The most remarkable, "khoomei" (translated as "throatsinging") confounds Western academicians to this day. People in Tuva have learned to produce multiple tones simultaneously while singing. Throatsingers have been described as sounding like "a one-man quartet" and "a bullfrog swallowing a whistle."

Tuva is comprised of a mixture of desert plateaus and green valleys ringed by snow-capped mountains of the Sayan and Altai ranges. The powerful contrasts of their environment are said to be the inspiration for the Tuvans' development of five distinct styles of throatsinging.

Most Tuvans practice a mix of Tibetan Buddhism and animist shamanism despite aggressive Soviet attempts to eliminate "paganism" since their occupation of Tuva in 1944. In 1991, the suppression of a popular call for independence in Tuva resulted in the massacre of hundreds of people including both Tuvans and Russians.

Kongar-ol Ondar, who won the 1992 throat-singing contest, invited his friend, Paul Pena, to participate in the contest of 1995. Currently, Pena and Ondar have recorded an album, "Genghis Blues," which combines elements of Mississippi Delta blues, Cape-Verdian ballads, and Tuvan throat music.

QBert (born October 1969) is the performing name of Richard Quitevis, a Filipino-American (of Ilocano descent) DJ and composer. Living in San Francisco, he started playing with records at the age of 15 and was influenced by the street performers of San Francisco's hip-hop community in the mid 1980s.

He started his musical career in a group called FM20 with Mix Master Mike and Apollo in 1990. They were playing a show in New York when Crazy Legs saw them and invited them to join the Rock Steady Crew. They accepted, and going by the name of the Rock Steady DJ's they proceeded to take the 1992 Disco Mixing Club (DMC) world title. Q-Bert was also one of the founding members of the band Invisibl Skratch Piklz. Although there were other turntablist crews before the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, the Skratch Piklz were the first to apply the band concept to turntablism, layering drums, basslines, and scratch solos on top of each other.

Although he can be seen in the 1991 DMC US competition performing beat juggles, creating melodies with test tones, and performing other tricks, since then he has almost exclusively focused on scratching and "drumming," a variation on scratching in which the DJ scratches a drumbeat rhythmically. Of his performance routines, one of his most famous is a scratched reworking of LL Cool J's "Rock the Bells." QBert scratches "hamster style," which means that his mixer's crossfader works in reverse order. (Many other scratch DJs prefer "hamster style" to regular style.)

QBert, along with other Skratch Piklz, created a series of videos entitled Turntable TV. Now out of print, the first 5 episodes were released on VHS and contained demonstrations, showcases, skits, and other dj related content.

QBert's solo efforts include 1994's Demolition Pumpkin Squeeze Musik, and 1998's Wave Twisters. The latter album was created mainly with samplers and beat machines versus the turntable, and later turned into an animated feature of the same title. Wave Twisters (2001) the movie was somewhat unusual in that the animators and digital artists had to invent images and movements to the pre-recorded music, as opposed to the other way around. Wave Twisters is often compared to The Beatles' Yellow Submarine for being an animated-feature-as-soundtrack, but in terms of the composition of the album itself, Wave Twisters actually bears much more of a resemblance to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

His music was also featured in the video games Tony Hawk's Underground (in which he was also an unlockable playable character) and FreQuency.

He is featured in the 2001 documentary film Scratch.

He is also featured in the first documentary film on battle DJing - Battle Sounds - 1997.

More recently he has worked with Vestax to develop the QFO, an all-in-one scratching instrument. The QFO combines a turntable with a mixer's crossfader. (needs citation) In 2006 he introduced the QBert turntable cartridge, a model put out by Ortofon. (needs citation) Thus far, the cartridge has received mixed reviews for its sound quality and skip resistance.

Awards and credentials

* DMC USA Champion 1991
* DMC World Champion 1992
* DMC World Champion 1993
* DMC World Champion 1994
* DMC Judge 1995
* DMC DJ Hall of Fame (along with Mix Master Mike)
* Acted in Hang the DJ
o Cannes Film Festival, France
* Appears in the documentary film Modulations
o Sundance Festival, Utah
* Appears in the documentary Scratch

Saïan Supa Crew is a French rap collective composed of three groups: Explicit Samouraï, OFX, and Simple Spirit.

The name is a reference to some of the characters from the anime show Dragon Ball Z.

Saïan Supa Crew produces a very musical style of rap with hints of chanting, reggae, and ragga. Beat boxing also is an integral part of their music, as well as classic disco; for example, Ring My Bell was partially revisited on their album KLR

Their primary themes extend from drug problems (Que dit-on?) to racism (La preuve par 3), including also relationships (A demi-nue), suicide (La dernière séance) and the justification of violence by religion (Au nom de quoi). Humor and seriousness are both at home in their lyrics.

Their second album, X-raisons, was awarded a Victoire de la musique in 2002 for Best Rap/Groove Album.

Most of the groups of the collective have solo albums out as well. OFX was the first to debut, with their album Roots in February 2004, followed shortly by Explicit Samouraï in January 2005 and later by Sir Samuël Vizé pli ô, whose solo album was released in April 2005.

The latest album from the Saïan Supa Crew, Hold Up, was released Halloween 2005. On this album, the group demonstrated their breadth with three featured artists: German singer Patrice on "96 degreez," the singer Camille on "Si j'avais su," and of the Black Eyed Peas on "La patte."

Their entire song catalogue is published by BMG Music Publishing.

The Members

* Leeroy Kesiah member of Explicit Samouraï (born in 1978 as Khalid Dehbi, Bagneux 92)
* Vicelow member of OFX (born in 1978 as Cédric Bélise, Bondy 93)
* Sly the Mic Buddha member of Simple Spirit (born in 1974 as Silvere Johnson, Montrouge 92)
* Feniksi member of OFX (born in 1976 as Samuël Adebiyi, Noisy-le-Sec 93)
* Specta member of Explicit Samouraï (born in 1975 as Gérard Nubul, Bagneux 92) Is no longer a member of the Saïan Supa Crew.
* Sir Samuël (Solo Career) (born in 1977 as Fabien Philetas, Montrouge 92)
* KLR member of OFX (died in April 1999 born in Noisy-le-Sec 93)

plus the DJ and producers DJ Fun, Alsoprodby and Eddy Kent, DJ Kärve also recently joined Saïan Supa Crew.


* KLR (1999)
* X-Raisons (2001)
* Hold-Up (2005)
* DVD Hold-Up Tour 2006 (2006)