TEDxCaltech – Steve Collins, Lyle Mays, Kongar-Ol Ondar – Tuva or Bust!

TEDxCaltech – Steve Collins, Lyle Mays, Kongar-Ol Ondar – Tuva or Bust!

39,196 views•Mar 11, 2011 3614ShareSaveTEDx Talks 25.2M subscribers A vignette from “Tuva or Bust!” by Ralph Leighton Richard Feynman – Steve Collins Tuvan throat singer – Kongar-Ol Ondar Directed by Shirley Marneus Music by Kongar-Ol Ondar and Lyle Mays Tuvan stamps provided by Alan Leighton Presentation assistance by Ian Leighton Feynman portrait by Sylvia Posner Ladakhi monk costume sewn by Gwyneth Feynman, courtesy of Michelle Feynman About TEDx, x = independently organized event: In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.) On January 14, 2011, Caltech hosted TEDxCaltech, an exciting one-day event to honor Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate, Caltech physics professor, iconoclast, visionary, and all-around “curious character.” Visit TEDxCaltech.com for more details.

Kongar-ol Ondar & Paul Pena GENGHIS BLUES

Genghis Blues movie poster artKongar-ol Ondar & Paul Pena
Genghis Blues movie poster art


October 2 2005 Update: it is with heavy hearts that we inform you that Paul Pena passed away today.

Genghis Blues

American throatsinger and bluesman Paul Pena had  been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (and was subsequently rediagnosed with pancreatitis – see www.paulpena.com for some more detail).

In 1995 Paul travelled to Kyzyl to participate in the Khoomei symposium and placed first in the kargyraa category. This journey was the focus of the documentary “Genghis Blues”. Paul is well known to Friends of Tuva as “Cher Shimjer” (Earthquake), one half of the band Genghis Blues (with Kongar-ol Ondar), and he is also known in the blues world and in the rock world.

Paul had been living with a pancreatic illness for several years. Originally thought to be cancer, it now looks more like pancreatitis.  The generous contributions of people like you made it possible for Paul to receive round the clock care in his apartment in San Francisco.

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Official Web Sites

Articles and Reviews

Here’s a list of references to reviews about the movie, articles about Paul Pena and Roko Belic and Adrian Belic, and related items online. It’s really great to see a few Friends of Tuva chase after a dream and actually realize it.

Video Release

Genghis Blues is now available (as of December, 2000) on videocassette and DVD.


  • Paul’s good friend and long time helper Seth Augustus has released his own CD of Tuvan-influenced music.  Seth has studied under Paul and we refer you to his CD as a small thanks for his efforts in helping Paul over the years.
  • http://www.fotuva.org/gb/index.html

Chevy Chase Show 1993-10-01 Tuvan Throat Singing

Chevy Chase Show 1993-10-01 Tuvan Throat Singing

14 877 vues•19 déc. 2013 165 3 Partager Enregistrerados4k 6,24 k abonnés Tuvan throat singing segment frrom the October 1, 1993 episode of the Chevy Chase Show featuring Kongar ol Ondar (RIP) and Bady Dhorzhu Ondar. This is a repaired version of another video found on Youtube that is currently broken.

Tyvam (My Tuva) – Kongar-ol Ondar, Evgeny Saryglar & Alash Ensemble

Tyvam (My Tuva) – Kongar-ol Ondar, Evgeny Saryglar & Alash Ensemble

Published on Feb 15, 2015

Footage from the documentary “The Secrets of Khomei, Voices From Tuva” Lyrics (translated from questionable subtitles): (All) On this earth we live we live for centuries here This is Tuva, our country and we are Tuvans! (Second verse missing) (Ayan-ool Sam) The country is our life Delighted are our hearts Because we still live in the same way That we have always lived (Bady-Dorzhu Ondar) As long as our steppe exists As long as our taiga exists We remain here Until the end of days (All) If we want to remain true Tuvans We must always keep singing our khöömei If we let our voices sound We bring our people happiness — From what very, very little Tuvan I know, I’m pretty sure these lyrics are inaccurate. They don’t seem to correspond to the words being spoken. The translated lyrics were probably altered to sound good in Dutch. Translating them to English further confuses the point.

Kongar-ool Ondar, Kaigal-ool Khovalyg and Anatoli Kuular – Ching Soortukchulerining Yrysy

Kongar-ool Ondar, Kaigal-ool Khovalyg and Anatoli Kuular – Ching Soortukchulerining Yrysy

Published on Jul 23, 2009

This song is about Tuvan caravaners, who use to travel to China about 500/700 years ago for trading and other proposes.


Master Tuvan Throat Singer Kongar-ol Ondar (Коңгар-оол Ондар) Unplugged in Marin

Master Tuvan Throat Singer Kongar-ol Ondar (Коңгар-оол Ондар) Unplugged in Marin

Published on Jan 25, 2011

Master Tuvan throat singer Kongar-ol Ondar performs at a house concert in Marin County, California, Jan 2011. The whistling sound you hear is the isolated overtones of his voice, achieving single-singer harmony. There are no other instruments or vocals besides his singing and the strumming of his doshpuluur (tuvan guitar). He appeared in the acclaimed documentary “Genghis Blues” and has performed on David Letterman.

Kongar-ol Ondar and Paul Pena – Genghis Blues – Promo Video

Kongar-ol Ondar and Paul Pena – Genghis Blues – Promo Video

Published on Sep 9, 2007

This short video predates the movie “Genghis Blues”, and was used to promote the duo for concert bookings. Produced by Friends of Tuva in the mid-1990’s. Kongar-ol Ondar and his student Bady-Dorzhu Ondar appear on the Chevy Chase show, October 1 1993. Kongar-ol Ondar passed away July 24, 2013 in his beloved country of Tuva as a result of complications after emergency surgery for a hemorrhage of the brain. Needless to say, this comes as a shock to all those who knew him and all those who enjoyed his music. Thankfully, we still have his recordings to remember him by.


Paul Pena and Kongar-ol Ondar – The Battle of “Chershemjer”

Paul Pena and Kongar-ol Ondar – The Battle of “Chershemjer”

Published on Nov 20, 2007

“Chershemjer” means Earthquake in Tuvan. The Tuvan throat singing master Kongar-ol Ondar named US Blues singer Paul Pena Chershemjer when Paul paticipated the Tuva throat singing contest in 1995. This video clip is from Genghis Blues DVD’s extras; I am not sure if it was shot at a concert in San Francisco.