public radio reporter in interior Alaska covering mushing, Arctic science and happenings in the Far North

Archive for September, 2014

A Voice that Fascinates Humans and Lures Creatures from the Sea – From Al Jazeera America

Novoye Chaplino, Russia  — Olga Letykai took the stage this summer in her usual performance attire, dressed from head to toe in seal skin, white fur at her cuffs, beaded headband on her forehead, traditional markings on her face. For those who had never heard Letykai before, what happened next was probably a surprise. While the frigid wind on the Bering Sea coast carried along an occasional call of a seagull, that was soon joined by the unearthly — and almost indescribable — sounds of Letykai’s throat singing: deep guttural noises mixed with heavy growling and panting, followed by sharp, bird-like trills.
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