Huun-Huur-Tu are a music group from Tuva, a republic of Russia situated on the Mongolia-Russia border.
The most distinctive characteristic of Huun-Huur-Tu's music is throat singing, in which the singers sing both the note (drone) and the drone's overtone(s), thus producing two or three notes simultaneously. The overtone may sound like a flute, whistle or bird, but is solely a product of the human voice.
The group primarily use native Tuvan instruments such as the igil khomus (Tuvan jaw harp), doshpuluur, and dünggür (shaman drum). However, in recent years, the group have begun to selectively incorporate Western instruments, such as the guitar. While the thrust of Huun-Huur-Tu's music is fundamentally indigenous Tuvan folk music, they also experiment with incorporating not only Western instruments, but electronic music as well.
Since the group's inception, Huun Huur Tu has collaborated with musicians from many genres, such as Frank Zappa, The Chieftains, Johnny Guitar Watson, the Kodo Drummers, The Moscow Art Trio, The Kronos Quartet and Bulgarian women's singing group, Angelite. Their recording "Eternal" is a collaborative effort with underground electronic musician, Carmen Rizzo. Huun Huur Tu appeared on three songs on Bahamut, the debut album of New York-based blues group Hazmut Modine. Their song "Osku Urug" is featured in the American television series Fargo episode, "The Law of Vacant Places”.
Founded in Sasha Bapa, his brother, Sayan, and two other musicians, Kaigal-ool Khovalyg and Albert Kuvezin Huun-Huur-Tu focus on the performance of “old and forgotten songs.” Sasha, Sayan, and Kaigal-ool were refugees of one of the large state-managed song and dance ensembles that became fixed institutions of the public cultural life during the Soviet era. For decades these ensembles with their glitzy performances of folk music or pseudo folk music offered the only possibility for young musicians to play indigenous music for a living. Throughout the privatization of the music business in the former Soviet Union, many musicians decided to abandon these state ensembles and form their own groups. The musical results have decidedly been mixed.