Tuvan National Orchestra
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Tuvan landscape
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"Tooruktug Dolgai Tangdym" is the national anthem of the Republic of Tuva. The title literally means "My Taiga Filled with Pine Nuts." The song's two stanzas express the Tuvan people's close connection to their natural surroundings:

If I walk in my taiga with pine nuts all around,
I will not go hungry.
If I raise the nine kinds of livestock,
I will be rich. . . .

The words and melody are traditional, but the orchestral setting is original, composed by Ayana Samiyaevna Mongush. Her introduction features orchestral imitations of the sounds of nature.

(Tuvan landscape photograph by Oleg Kosterin)

Tool (rhymes with pole) is a term for the traditional form of Tuvan storytelling. Tool singers of the past could recite tales ranging from short fables to epics tens of thousands of lines long. These tales were often sung and accompanied by the igil or byzaanchy.

This particular tool tells the tale of the mythical origins of the igil. (Read the story.) Andrei Mongush and Choduraa Tumat collaborated in writing lyrics in the traditional tool style. The music is based on traditional melodies with some parts adapted by Andrei Mongush, other material newly composed by Ayana Samiyaevna Mongush. Ayana skillfully arranged and orchestrated the entire piece for the Tuvan National Orchestra. In this excerpt, the evil lord Karaty-Xaan commands his henchmen to capture and kill the treasured horse of Ösküs-ool. Bady-Dorzhu Ondar sings the role of the villain, and Andrei Mongush sings the part of the narrator.

Igil, boy on horse
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Agitator on winged horse holding book saying, "Workers of the World Unite."
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This song features an old Tuvan melody with new lyrics written during the period of the Tuvan People's Republic (1921-1944). The orchestral arrangement is by Ayana Samiyaevna Mongush. The song describes the truthful, hardworking, and brave political agitator who is spreading the message of communism in the early 20th century:

I want to ride my grey pacer,
who doesn't bend a blade of soft grass as he runs,
And I want to hear the agitator's truthful words
at a community meeting. . . .