April 04, 2007


Ai-Tal.jpgIn the February edition of The Wire, there’s a 14 page spread on “concerts that shook the world”. It’s filled with breathless gig reviews of performances by a lot of the usual suspects – Ornette Colman, The Birthday Party, Big Black, Faust, The Fall, Nina Simone, Sun Ra, etc. In the midst of these modern music luminaries, however, is an appearance by a virtually unknown band at an obscure festival in Far Eastern Siberia. The festival is the Tabyk Ethno Musical Festival, which is held annually in the capital of the Sakha (Yakutian) Republic, Yakutsk; the band is Ai-Tal.

What makes this band so special? Well, judging by the one mp3 I’ve heard, the vocalist Yurii Spiridonov. Yurii is quite simply one of the most spine-chilling singers you’re ever likely to hear. He pulls you in from the outset with the sort of a gravelly bass growling that you might hear from a hibernation-deprived bear fronting a SunnO))) covers band. Then, when you’ve adjusted this, the voice rises to a blood-curdling reverb-drenched roar before settling into an extended burst of throat singing style demon chattering followed by more unearthly wailing…

Download and “enjoy”. (And, for more less gut-churning music from the Tabyk Festival, follow this link.)

Posted by Warren at April 4, 2007 01:37 AM | World