The Rubin is transforming. Read important updates from our Executive Director.

Altai Kai

Throat Singing Virtuosos

Friday, January 4, 2019
7:00 PM–8:30 PM
Sold Out


Hear the otherworldly sounds of throat singing when the virtuosos of Altai Kai perform at the Rubin Museum. This ancient vocal technique, in which a singer can produce two or more pitches simultaneously, often with a deeply resonant tone that evokes the mysteries of nature and the spiritual realm, is practiced in some Tibetan Buddhist chants and in other traditions throughout the Himalayas and beyond, into Mongolia and parts of Siberia.

The members of Altai Kai are skilled in the different styles and variations of kai (the Altai word for throat singing) and folk instruments. Their velvety, low-pitched kargyraa, mesmerizing khoomei, and melodic sygyt place the listener amidst forests of singing birds, gurgling brooks, and the growls of nighttime predators. Throat singing and the ringing melodies of the khomus, topshur, and accordion all come together to form the sound of Altai Kai.

Stories of nature’s beauty and mighty folk heroes are accompanied by jocular melodies, dancing rhythms, and shamanic mysteries.


About the Performers

Altai Kai was founded in 1997 by Urmat Yntaev, with the goal of preserving and cultivating the traditional culture of the Republic of Altai, located in Western Siberia. Today the group is a laureate of multiple national and international competitions. In 2003, they were entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest performance of throat singing. They are members of the Folklore Union of Russia, and the International Organization of Folk Art (an NGO accredited by UNESCO). Altai Kai made their international debut at WOMEX 2007 in Sevilla, Spain.

Urmat Yntaev has been recognized as a People’s Throat Singer (“Kaichy”) of the Altai Republic. He is the grandson of Anisiya Beleeva, a prominent female throat singer who lived to be 102. In 1997, Mr. Yntaev founded the ensemble Karaty-Khan, which became Altai Kai in 2000. He is the group’s producer and artistic director, as well as the organizer of an annual throat singing festival called Altyn-Taiga, and the annual Altai Festival of World Music. He is a master of multiple styles of throat singing, but he says his favorite style of throat singing is tumchuk-kargyraa. In 2017, Mr. Yntaev celebrated twenty years as a professional throat singer. He is a descendant of the Jabak clan, and he was born in the Kara-Kudyur village of the Ulagan district in Altai.

Alash Topchin is a throat singer from the Kobok clan. He was born in Pasparta village in the Ulagan district. He is the nephew of the nationally renowned throat singer A.G. Kalkin. Since his early years, Mr. Topchin admired his uncle and always dreamed of following in his footsteps as a throat singer. Mr. Topchin has been with throat singing group Altai Kai since December 2009, and continues to follow in his uncle’s footsteps as an ambassador of Altai folk culture. Along with being a master of multiple styles of throat singing, Mr. Topchin plays several traditional Altai instruments, and has a talent for imitating the sounds of animals.

Ezendei Sogonokov is a singer from the Kobok clan. He was born in the Ulagan village of Ulagan district. After finishing school, Mr. Sogonokov joined the Altai State Philharmonic as a soloist. He is a distinguished graduate of the Altai Republic College of Culture and Arts, where he studied vocal performance. He is a tenor.

Aidyn Orsulov is from the Saal clan. He was born in Ulagan village in the Ulagan district of Altai Republic. He is a descendant of a long lineage of Altai throat singers, and he first began practicing traditional throat singing at the age of 12. He is fond of the epic genre, and the program features an epic he wrote himself. He plays different traditional Altai instruments, including the topshur (a traditional Altai lute) and the ikili. He is a master in various styles of Altai throat singing, including kargyraa, khoomei, and sybysky.

This program is now SOLD OUT.

If you would like to be added to the standby list, please review our standby procedures.


Tickets: $30.00

Member Tickets: $24.00


Become a member today!