Huun-Huur-Tu and Nina NastasiaMay 28, Smekkleysa - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Huun-Huur-Tu and Nina NastasiaMay 28, Smekkleysa

Huun-Huur-Tu and Nina NastasiaMay 28, Smekkleysa

Published June 10, 2005

Atli Bollason

It’s not too common to attend a concert which has true crossover potential when it comes to age and social groups. Still, a recent sunny Saturday afternoon youngsters and hipsters, mothers and fathers gathered in the Bad Taste record shop to listen to American singer and songwriter Nina Nastasia perform, and I think it’s safe to say the excitement was even greater to hear the throat-singing group Huun-Huur-Tu give an example of their otherworldly sound.
Nina came on stage first. While the crowd was still chatting she started plucking her guitar strings carefully, creating a repetitious but intriguing sound. The crowd gradually went silent and opened up it’s ears. Nina opened up her mouth and sang in a voice that sounded fragile and powerful at the same time. Her lyrics, depicting lost love and the ups and down of everyday life are compact and bold, earning generous applause at the end of her first number.
In her second song Huun-Huur-Tu joined in. Four men from the remote district of Tuva, just outside Mongolia, they looked ancient. Their peculiar string instruments and especially the amazing sounds coming from their throats added a new and eerie dimension to Nina’s formula of repetitious guitar lines and melancholy crooning.
Nina and Huun-Huur-Tu played most of the songs together with excellent results, even though the aforementioned formula had begun to wear out a little towards the end of the show. A few of the tunes simply didn’t have enough melodic weight.

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