Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Late Great Paul Pena Performs Good Horses

There once was a blind man. A black musician who lived in San Francisco, who using a short wave radio discovered and taught himself the ancient art of Tuvan throat singing. This was no small feat considering the fact that most Tuvans never learn the skill.
In the nineties, Richard Feynman, Scientist of world renown, brought the Tuvans to the U.S. and while performing in California they met Matt Groening and he introduced them to Frank Zappa who produced their first recordings in the states. The Tuvans then went north and while at a reception for them Paul Pena who couldn't afford the ticket to see them found a spot behind them and began singing; a very old traditional Tuvan folk song. Well when they heard him they joined him in song and befriended him. Every three years in Tulva Tuva they have a competition to declare the best of the throat singers and the Tuvans with help from Richard Feynman got Paul all the way there. Where he became the first American to compete in their competition and won his division. Paul Passed away in 2005 of leukemia. This story I've just told can be found in a great documentary called Genghis Blues and the commentary track from the Futurama episode on Mars (Information travels in mysterious ways). I hope you enjoyed the unique combination of southern blues and Tuvan folk music, and be sure to see Genghis Blues when you get a chance, you won't regret it.

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