Thursday, October 6, 2016

Almost Forgot About This One...

A year or so ago, I was watching the documentary Genghis Blues. It's about a blind American musician, Paul Pena, who discovered the distinctive and unusual art of Tuvan throat singing (in which the performer generates a root note while singing one or more notes above it simultaneously) while playing around with a ham radio. Pena taught himself how to sing that way, and eventually wound up in the land of Tuva, a place so distant that it bills itself as the geographical center of Asia, to meet and perform with other throat singers.

Pena had a strong rhythm and blues background, and at one point in the film, he sings in the Tuvan style while playing the blues on guitar. That alone makes Genghis Blues worth watching, but I also found out from this film that Pena wrote and recorded the classic rock tune "Jet Airliner" in 1973, about four years before the Steve Miller Band covered it and walked away with a top ten hit. The SMB version is good, but I think Pena's original is better. A little slower in tempo and a whole lot funkier. It's really hard to listen to this song and not want to dance.



  1. I'm enjoying your music choices lately.
    I think you've mellowed a bit !?!

  2. Um, I don't know if I've mellowed. I've been dipping my toes into one or two pools other than the classic rock one I'm accustomed to. Might be a mockingbird thing -- those birds will hear a new sound, and sometimes they'll add it to their repertoire. I do pretty much the same thing here...

  3. Bartkid sez,
    Just glad you're still alive and posting - as infrequent as they are - Jim.

    I'm trying to recall. I think I saw Genghis Blues at my local library's film theatre. Went out and bought the DVD a year later. Going to have to go and see about digging it up.

  4. I think I missed my calling. I should have been a musicologist. I can write music, play the keys, and occasionally sing, but studying and respecting music -- that's my mission in life.


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