Alternative Singing Styles
Just got back from a very painful dengue fever episode. Where I live, it’s quite a common disease. It’s rainy season, which equals to dengue season. It’s rarely fatal, but it’s really, really painful. Anyway, what was the article about again? Oh, yeah..
Alternative Singing Styles.
Anyway, after I was discharged, I took a peek in my inbox and got this email from a reader way over in Alaska. She was curious about weather or not my Free Singing Course could help in terms of learning non-western style singing.
I find that ironic, because of two things:
1) Non-western singing styles have been around for a much longer time than western style techniques. A lot of stuff that modern singing considers “advanced”, are actually done on a daily basis by the practitioners of the more ancient arts!
2) The other, bigger, irony is that the opposite is actually true. If you practice the effortless methods of the ancient arts, it’ll actually help you in your modern singing.
Let’s use the example she cited in her email. She mentioned the inuit style of singing as her target subject. Here’s an excerpt of what it sounds like:
Isn’t that the coolest thing!? You have to be soulless to not have any appreciation for that! It’s music that’s very conversational, everything happens in real-time.
Just two people communicating in a different medium just to see if they can still understand each other. This is the essence of what human beings have been doing for centuries!
But look closer! Look at the technique involved. Listen to:
1) the breath control. Try doing that for at least a minute, I dare you! That’s major league breath control right there!
2) watch the how they alternate the pitches so effortlessly. Earthy, smoky, growls, then the next second it’s really high-pitched and then back and forth as the conversation dictates.
3) That growl. There’s some blues-like raspiness to it, there’s also that sharp, guttural RnB style attack.
4) The throat. Most modern singing gurus will advise against using the throat. Look how these guys do it so effortlessly. Granted, the russians, and Tuvans have been doing it too for ages now.
How cool is that!? They actually learned to manipulate the facial muscles in order to amplify the overtones. Sounds like 3 different instruments playing all at once, except that all those sounds are from one human voice!
I have no experience singing in Inuit style throat singing, but a while back I was so fascinated by Tuvan throat singers that I tried a few exercises just to see what kind of results I would get.
I was attracted to the effortless bass tones they produced just by using the throat. And sure enough, after a few weeks of trying it out, my bass tones improved dramatically. I didn’t go on to master the overtones, but the experience taught me that those ancient techniques are not only effective, but they are safer than most modern techniques.
Another thing I love about the ancient styles is how they remind us about what singing is all about. It’s about communication, and expression. It’s about having fun! The techniques are really simple, so there’s no room for over-complicating things, and lots of room for actually singing! I love that!
Anyway, if you’re interested to learn about overtone singing, this guy knows his stuff:
Listen to what your soul wants to express. Really listen. Sit in silence and stillness. Being busy all the time doesn’t help you listen. And then explore your voice. Use the throat, head, chest, grunt, growl.
Use everything! Listen to what your soul is saying, and use your voice to relay the message to the world! If your voice isn’t ready yet, get some practise. You’ll get there. In the meantime, just sing!
May there be more singers in this world!