This strange and wonderful band from the heart of central Asia are named after the beautiful giant zither that lead singer and founder member Albert Kuvezin often plucks at on stage. At other times, though, he'll be grinding out fuzzed up riffs from an electric guitar. These instruments neatly symbolise the two main things in Yat-Kha's unique sound a fusion of traditional Tuvan folklore and rock music.
Albert Kuvezin first began began to explore this mix after leaving Tuva's acoustic ensemble Huun-Huur-Tu over *ahem* personal and artistic differences in 1993. Two years later, Yat-Kha put out their debut album Yenisei Punk, and there have been four more international releases since, as well as two live albums. Partly due to participants taking extended 'paternity leave', and the fiendishly tough logistics of being roving ambassadors for the smallest and most remote Republic of the Russian Federation, Yat-Kha's membership is in constant flux.
Shows may feature a blues-soaked cameo by elegant singer Sailyk Ommun ('Little Bird') and ethereal vocal harmonics (höömei) from long term collaboraor Aldynool Sevek ('the most under-recorded throatsinger in Tuva'). There will also probably be a 2-stringed igil, or horse hair cello, sawing away underneath, and perhaps a twanging khomuz or Jew's harp. And you will definitely hear drummer Zhenya Tkachov ('more Russian than the Russians'), pounding away shamanically on his kengyry (Tuvan bodhran). Most certainly, there will be rock!
Over the years, Albert's skills have developed. He learnt the yat-kha, for starters. And he's moved on from adapting traditional Tuvan songs to writing his own, initially in his first language and then in English, as first heard on Tuva Rock (2003). The latest studio album, significantly sub-titled 'Albert Kuvezin and Yat-Kha' is a kind of homage to Albert's (mostly, but not all western) rock and pop icons. Re-covers (2005) features Albert's growling sub-bass kanzat vocals on twisted and at times comedic versions of classics by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Motörhead, Kraftwerk and Joy Divison. For Siberia's most lovably odd band, the next steppe must surely be world domination.
A4WM 2002 Nomination
BBC Berkshire review
Yat kha is voor mij een unieke band. Wat zij laten horen zijn voor de westerse wereld verloren gegane technieken. Deze oer techniek, aangevuld met hedendaagse muziek is voor elke muziek liefhebber een must. Ik hoop dat ze, na de Amerikaanse toer,Europa aandoen en wel het liefst in Amsterdam Paradiso. Ik wil besluiten met de kreet: Yat Kha, the best there is!! Groeten vanuit
Very interesting music!
A unique band that deserves the best. You are lifted and carried away by their very special blend of new and old, of deeply rooted tradition and an untamed thirst for the present. If you prefer easy digestable surfaces, you are likely to not welcome the depths of their music and the demands for a well-working listening center. But if you like a musical challenge you will probably come back for more Yat-Kha! From a Tuvan perspective their work is also very important as a rock-updating of the strong music tradition of this beautiful country.
Steven - Telford
I loved the album 'recovers' - absolutely fantastic stuff (and it must be really difficult to do throat singing with your tongue in your cheek ;-) Be careful who you play it to, though. Some of my in-laws found it inaccesible to the point they became quite offensive and derogatory not only about Yat-Kha, but about me for buying it and the music industry for permitting it to be recorded (!). Then they put their 'Keane' album on. Maybe it could be used as a character test?
Henry Walker, Norwich
Extraordinary, Albert and co. go from strength to strength. I'm glad they have taken a step back from the thrash element.
It's good song!I know this is a technique of voice production in which the singer vibrates his vocal chords to emit two sounds at once...I like it!