Cape music fans can experience ‘Sounds of Siberia’

CAPE COD TIMES – Payomet Performing Arts Center on Saturday will present international musicians Yuliyana Krivoshapkina and Nachyn Choreve in a “Sounds of Siberia” concert.

By Jason Savio - January 2, 2020
Sounds of SiberiaSometimes you have to travel outside your comfort zone to find your niche and see what the world has to offer.

Kevin Rice, artistic director at the Payomet Performing Arts Center in North Truro, did just that, and now he wants to share his discovery with the rest of us.

On Saturday night, he’ll present Yuliyana Krivoshapkina and Nachyn Choreve, two international music artists who will perform a “Sounds of Siberia” concert at Wellfleet Preservation Hall.

Siberia, Rice says, is “an explosion of art and culture like you don’t see anywhere in the world.”

A self-described Russophile, Rice, 67, says he fell in love with Siberia when he was 40 and has visited the area four times. In 1996, he was there to direct a Russian-language translation of his play “Siberian Summer.”

“I was attracted to Siberia because it has an amazing tradition of theater and storytelling and shamanism all mixed together,” he says. “Music is another element that heightens the whole experience.”

A student of the culture and all that comes with it, Rice became familiar with a special type of singing from Siberia called “throat singing,” in which the performer uses different parts of the throat and voice to create multiple sounds at the same time.

Choreve, who is from the republic of Tuva in southern Siberia, specializes in throat singing. Touring as a professional musician since age 16, he is a soloist in the Tuvan State Philharmonic and a founding member of the Tuvan psychedelic rock band Hartyga, which has collaborated with musicians around the world.

Krivoshapkina, who hails from the Sakha Republic, is “one of the greats, the foremost practitioner,” Rice says, of the khomus, a type of jaw harp that generates sound through breathing, tongue, cheek and finger manipulation. Also a performer in multiple countries, she is able to play across about three octaves, and has won the Ethnic Sound category in the Discovery International Music Pop Festival in Varna, Bulgaria.

Video posted online of the duo’s work gives a sense of what you can expect at their upcoming show: a world of animal and nature sounds unlike anything this listener, and probably many other listeners, have heard a human make before. It can be jarring at first, an unexpected surprise for a listener of western music. But it is also captivating and transportive.

“When they do the call of the wolf and the hoofbeats of horses, it’s absolutely thrilling,” Rice says. “It’s pretty wild stuff. There is a spiritual quality to the music, an emphasis on nature and our connection to it as a humans.”

Krivoshapkina and Choreve aren’t the first Siberians who perform this unusual kind of music whom Rice has hosted on the Cape. He recalls spending time with the Khatylaevs, a married couple whom he took to Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro to watch the seals.

“So there we are on the beach with these two Siberians who are experts at imitating animal sounds, and for a long time, they were listening very closely to the seals and then after about maybe 15 minutes, they start talking to the seals using seal voice,” he says. “Normally you can shout your head off and the seals wouldn’t pay any attention, but as soon as they started speaking, the seals looked at them as if trying to figure out ‘Who is this talking to us?’”

Saturday will mark Choreve’s debut with Payomet, and the return of Krivoshapkina after she performed in July at Payomet’s North Truro tent. Bringing her back again and sharing the duo’s talent with the community was something Rice didn’t want to miss out on.

“It’s always been one of my goals to bring over and introduce these artists,” he says. “Yuliyana and Nachyn are touring the United States big-time this year and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to present them again.”

Booking Krivoshapkina and Choreve is part of Rice’s effort to bring more international music to the Cape. Over the past year, the Payomet center has hosted bands playing music from Ireland (Lankum), France (Le Vent Du Nord), Jamaica (Jah9) and Mexico (Las Cafeteras), among others.

“Part of the reason you don’t hear this music much (around here) is that it is difficult for foreign artists to get visas,” he says. “I don’t mean to get into the politics of it, but the United States is not making it any easier for international music artists to come here, especially from Russia.”

But Cape Codders won’t have to travel to the other side of the world this weekend to experience what Rice calls “some of the wildest and most enchanting international music.”

“You’ll be mesmerized,” he says. “You’ll want to book a ticket to Siberia immediately after the show to get more of the same.”



Read article on the Cape Cod Times.