Unique sounds of Huun Huur Tu HRPAC’s Atrium Series begins with Asian group with historic flair

Ever since the Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center began its free lunchtime concert series in the atrium of the UBS Financial Center on Harbor Boulevard, there has been a wide diversity of musical styles and talents.

However, to kick off their 2006-07 UBS Atrium Series, HRPAC is bringing perhaps its most unique concert to date.

The Asian group Huun Huur Tu will perform Wednesday, beginning at 12:30 p.m.

There is no easy way to describe the style of music that the quartet of musicians from the Republic of Tuva performs.

Huun Huur Tu have been performing worldwide at concerts and festivals and have emerged as the foremost international representative of Tuva’s remarkable musical culture.

Tuva is a small country that borders Mongolia.

Huun Huur Tu not only transforms the sounds of the natural world into music through imitation, but they also create sonic “maps” of physical landscapes, which may be expressed in songs, throat-singing, whistling, or other types of vocal production.

“Lots of people are extremely curious about Huun Huur Tu,” said HRPAC Executive Director Bruce Sherman. “Wherever these musicians go, they tend to captivate and astonish their audience. Whether it’s playing at the Philadelphia Folk Festival or a world music festival in Canada, where they have recently toured, they are enthusiastically received.”

Famed author Theodore Levin became familiar with the Tuvan overtone singing in the 1980s. He became so fascinated by it that he wrote a book about it and helped to bring the group to the United States, to spread the word here.

“When I heard it, I was blown away,” Levin said. “I decided then and there I had to meet the people who were making those sounds.”

It is believed that this form of music is arguably one of the world’s oldest musical forms.

By imitating or aesthetically representing the sounds of nature, this group imitates domestic animals, the physical environment of mountains and grasslands, and the elemental energies of wind, water, and light.

As part of HRPAC’s mission to bring educational programs to Hudson County students, Huun Huur Tu will pay a visit to Weehawken’s Roosevelt School before their scheduled free concert.

So far, HRPAC has brought educational programs to seven towns throughout Hudson County, including many to Weehawken.

“Roosevelt School is a great place to bring this program,” Sherman said. “There are students of so many backgrounds at Roosevelt and they clearly embrace diversity. So I’m sure that they will warmly welcome the musicians and be very interested in hearing this fascinating music. For most, it will be something that they will never hear or see again.”

The remainder of the UBS Atrium Series is currently being finalized and future concerts will be listed on the Web site, www.hrpac.org.

Concertgoers can call the HRPAC concert information line at (201) 716-4540.

The HRPAC will present the Tuvan band Huun Huur Tu in the first of the UBS Atrium Concert series productions Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 12:30 p.m. in the main atrium of the UBS Financial Center, located at 1000 Harbor Boulevard in Weehawken. Admission to the concert is free and seating is provided. For more information, call the HRPAC hotline at (201) 716-4540.


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