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11 Mar, 2008

Throat Singing

Having heard a noise in the middle of the night, I went downstairs. There I found Pauline and Anna. They said they stayed up until now as they were watching TV series together at Anna's. 'A touching story?', I asked, and they said it was a bit sad. Anna is seventeen years old, and wants to be a journalist.

These two girls showed me Throat Singing live, in the midnight. Two girls facing each other breathe out from deep throat, making a sound not in the mouth but in their throats. High pitched and low pitched sound comes in turn, to make the rhythm. It is important their rhythms match in harmony. It is dynamic to hear the sound which sounds like a bird or animal, something that comes from depth of life. They appeared to be totally different girls from when they were at work listening to Hip-hops. Every time they utter a sound, their throats vibrate and their chests go up and down.

They tried to match the rhythms, but did not work well. It is because Pauline and Anna are not regular partners, and they both have other partners for the throat singing. With their own partners, they know all the timings and how to utter the voice, but with a new partner, they have trouble to figure out each other's way of singing. It appears to be something that the partners spend much time together practicing how to ensemble different throat singings that exist more than a hundred. The throat singing duo may last all through their lives.

As I started mocking them, they gave me a tip how to sing.
"Try to round up the pharynx and breathe out from your lungs."
"Like when you pretend to be a monster."
"Like you push out all of your anger inside of you."
It was not easy at first, but as I kept trying, it was as if all my suppressed emotions were coming out, and my body wakening up, and it was fun. As I used my lungs, it was a good exercise as well.

To make me feel a little better who was a bad student, Pauline said that, at the beginning, it had taken her a couple of weeks just to be able to utter one sound. Anna told me she started practicing throat singing when she was four years old.

They said they enjoyed throat singing all night long during the summer camping last year. While it is a women's entertainment traditionally when they lived in the tent, some men can also sing, they said.

Noriko Miyashita