Jazzmen go east to learn rare singing

TWO avant-garde south London jazz musicians are poised to extend British musical horizons: they are to spend a week visiting Tuva, a remote region in the Altai Mountains between Siberia and Mongolia, to study khoomei, or throat singing.

Ken Hyder, a drummer and vocalist from Tooting, and Brixton- based Tim Hodgkinson, who plays the saxophone and also sings, are to be tutored in the art of singing two notes at once by Sainkho Namtchylak, a Tuva throat singer, for a week later this month during a four-week tour of the former Soviet Union.

'First of all you sing a low note like a drone,' Mr Hyder said, 'and then at the same time you sing a harmonic, a whistle-like sound. You hold the low note constant and then sing a tune with the higher note.' Mr Hyder has also been promised training in shamanic drumming.

Frequent throat singing is not without risks - of headaches, pneumonia and respiratory tubercolis. And yes, the Arts Council is providing a modest subsidy for the trip.