Steppe It Up

To those who have heard of it, the autonomous Russian republic of Tuva is chiefly known for three things: its colorful and highly collectible stamps, its rugged terrain (this was the place chosen by fly-fishing Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the backdrop for a much ridiculed series of photos in which he appeared shirtless and on horseback) and its khoomei , or throat singing. In characteristically paranoid fashion, the Soviets regarded khoomei as subversive, and spent 50 years attempting to suppress it, but this ancient folk music proved considerably more resilient than the U.S.S.R. and thrives today — a...

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