Throat singer Kongar-ol Ondar dies at 51

Aug. 11, 2013 at 11:10 AM

KYZYL, Russia, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Throat singer Kongar-ol Ondar, known for his ability to sing two notes at the same time, died in his native Russian republic of Tuva, a friend said. He was 51.

The Siberian singer died after surgery for a brain hemorrhage July 25, friend Sean Quirk said.

Ondar brought traditional Tuvan throat singing to the Western world, where the technique was relatively unheard of until the 1980s, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

"More than any other Tuvan, Ondar has implanted throat-singing in the sphere of American popular culture," said Dartmouth College ethnomusicologist Theodore Levin.

Ondar performed three times in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., and once appeared on the "Late Show with David Letterman."

"People had the bizarre sense that they understood everything Kongar-ol was saying even though he was not singing in English," said Roko Belic, a filmed a documentary about Ondar. "He could communicate in expression and song and touch people in a very deep way."

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