Saturday, April 30, 2016


"Sun Propeller" over Ravenseyrie

One day, during deep winter, I was researching on the internet, hoping to find some appropriate music to play while I practice Qigong and Tai Chi.  Most of the year, I practice outside, but in wintertime I am more often obliged to practice in the spacious hallway in the Harbour Centre building (where I lease space for my studio and gallery).  It is when I am practicing inside that I find I desire an accompanying soundtrack...when I am outside, things flow more naturally.  

Online there are many places where one can find music that has been specifically edited for these types meditative body movements.  I listened to a number of these offerings, but to my ear the selections felt contrived and did not provide me with an "essence" I sensed was missing in my practice.  Thanks to the recommendations that Google and YouTube present when one is researching, I was soon introduced to the music of Huun-Huur-Tu.  I was gobsmacked by what I heard!  Their music is exactly what my inner being has felt out on the Ravenseyrie landscape and what I knew would enhance my indoor practice.  I promptly purchased from iTunes their 2010 album, Ancestors Call.

Huun-Huur-Tu translates literally to "sun propeller".  According to the introduction from Huun-Huur-Tu's website:

"The name of this group describes the effect of vertical rays of light which shine down from the clouds at dawn and dusk - a familiar sight that inspires awe whenever it occurs.  No doubt it's given added drama when projected over the stunning landscapes of Tuva.  This landlocked republic at the heart of Asia is the home of the four-piece Huun-Huur-Tu, whose music represents a re-imagining of traditional Tuvan folklore and is strongly evocative of the natural world."

Sorraias and Ravens at Ravenseyrie

In an a 2011 interview with Tuva Online Huun-Huur-Tu member, Radik Tyulyush, says of Tuvan music, "It is so deep and sensual that nobody can remain indifferent to it.  Tuvan melodies preserve all the sources, the beauty of nature since time immoral.  In my opinion, the listeners are attracted by the purity of the melodies."

I believe what Radik Tyulyush has said is true and for me it is not just the "purity of the melodies" but the earnest feeling with which this quartet plays and sings that I find so moving.  This Tuvan music evokes all that I find so enchanting about Ravenseyire.  When I listen to it, I feel the wind in my hair, hear the sounds of the birds, see the grasses dancing, the wild horses galloping.  Many of the songs of Huun-Huur-Tu has recorded also happen to be a perfect fit with the manner in which I practice Tai Chi and Qigong and provides the same resonance of movement to form that practicing outside in the wilderness gives me.  I'm convinced my dragon swims better when Huun Huur Tu is playing. 

Ravenseyrie in 2008

On a deeper level, one song in particular has become for me a bittersweet reminder of that period of time here on the Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve when foals were first born and all the horses were still here together.  A time I find myself again and again longing for, grieving for...

The Domestics and the Wildies, Ravenseyrie 2008

Kongurei (60 Horses in my Herd)

Kongurei is a song of loss...of one's horses, one's people, one's is also a song of love.

Though it came to be that the Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve could not fully approximate a vast, unfettered landscape where wild horses could live according to their own dictates without human interference on the limitation of 360 acres (and I do feel the pang of loss that our decision to separate males from the females has created), I remain ever-grateful for having had the opportunity to experience it for the years that we were able to.  I miss the foals being born and the dynamic of a full family band of equines living freely and I know many long time readers of this journal miss that, too. 

Now, however, there are different experiences that are also filled with enchantment - experiences that this blog will continue to document and share.  The horses remain with us, the Manitoulin Island landscape continues to resonate with their energetic presence and the sun still shines with great promise over all our lives.    

Legado and Sedutor, full brothers at Ravenseyrie

This, too, is perhaps what the music of Huun-Huur-Tu does for its listeners - gives them the emotional remembrance of what was, but also infuses it with hope and love for what is "now"... this is certainly how it speaks to me.

Silver Lining Cloud over Ravenseyrie