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

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.




Published on May 7, 2013

This Oscar® nominated film follows the story of a blind blues musician and his triumphant trek to the foreign land of Tuva and the mysterious art of khöömei or throat-singing, a seemingly impossible form of singing that produces multiple vocal tones simultaneously. NOW AVAILABLE on iTunes

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.

Paul Pena from the movie Genghis Blues,Good Horses



Paul Pena from the movie Genghis Blues,Good Horses

Published on Dec 28, 2006

This is a video concert extra from the rare film,”Genghis Blues” starring the late Paul Pena.He performs using the unique Tuva throat singing method in which two vocal cords are used at the same time producing a frog-like sound heard only in certain parts of the world..Paul Pena also wrote the song,”Jet Airliner” made famous by rocker,Steve Miller in the mid 70’s.This is a very rare performance..