“The Tuvan throat singing phenomenon that is SORIAH will take you to that holy place whenever you lend an ear to his music.”
– David J (Bauhaus, Love and Rockets)
SORIAH is the stage persona of Enrique Ugalde, an internationally-acclaimed throat singer and ritual artist who generates experimental soundscapes where ancient traditions are revealed through the lens of modern experience.
Birthed in one of the most historically isolated locations on the planet, Tuvan throat singing is a musical sound like no other. Mysterious, primordial and awash in a deeply visceral drone, it invokes the full range of the natural world – from deep mountain roots to the whistle of birds in flight.
SORIAH weaves Tuvan throat singing, pre-Columbian sounds, classical Indian raga, and modern Western styles, looping and processing his voice and traditional instruments into lush sonic tapestries. His lyrics are often written in Nahuatl (Mexica/Aztec) or Tuvan, preserving and expressing cultural mysteries with reverence and wonder.
“SORIAH’s truly stunning extended vocal technique is peerless…beautifully odd, elevatingly dark and utterly lovely.”
– Thomas Jones (Crossroads Music)
In 2008 SORIAH was awarded “Best Foreigner” at the Üstüü-Khüree Festival in Tuva and received the “Third Laureate” award in the 2008 Fifth Quinquennial Ethnomusicology Symposium, the highest honor a non-native Tuvan had yet achieved in this field. In 2019 he won the award for best Kargyraa in the International “Khöömei in the Center of Asia” Festival, and in 2020, he was awarded the title “Magical Musician of Khöömei”. His entry into the Tuvan Anthropological Museum speaks to the deep impact his work has within its native culture.
“Totally breathtaking. SORIAH conjures up a haunting sonic otherworld, drifting, dreamy, menacing and malefic, a rumbling, whirring dark ambient dronescape, thick with natural timbre and dense with subtle overtones.”
– Aquarius Records
When not visiting or competing in Tuva, SORIAH showcases to sold-out crowds in Europe, Japan, Mexico, and the United States. He has shared the stage with artists including Peter Murphy and David J (Bauhaus), cEvin Key (Skinny Puppy), Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction), Liberation Movement, and Clan of Xymox. He has contributed to studio recordings of Modest Mouse, The Dandy Warhols, Thor and Friends and Hans Joachim Roedelius. He was also a noted performer at the 2009 Peace Ball to celebrate Obama’s inauguration in Washington, D.C.
He also has collaborated with the renown soundtrack composer, Yasunori Nishiki on an upcoming 2021 Konami video game release.
Through his extensive humanitarian work, SORIAH remains dedicated to reminding audiences of traditions that transcend time and cultural boundaries, heightening awareness and revealing the divinity of each precious moment.
Khöömei (pronounced, “hoo-mei”) is an ancient style of singing believed to originate in an area now known as Tuva in Southern Siberia. The trance-like intonations are created by manipulations of the throat region that gives rise to two or more harmonizing pitches over a fundamental resonating frequency. For these reasons, Khöömei is commonly referred to as Tuvan throat singing among the Western Nations. Khöömei is an oral tradition-based cultural phenomenon that developed, in part, due to the spacious landscape of Southern Siberia. Singers often will seek out just the right river bend, steppe or mountainous cliff, searching for a balanced positioning which will prove most conducive to their throat singing, leading to resonant vocalizations able to traverse great distances. The heart of Khöömei lies in the inherent animism expressed in the mimicry of natural sounds. It is said that one can call a deer or moth to oneself given the proper technique met with purity of intention. It is unknown as to how old the practice has been in place. The Tuvans say that Khöömei is from a time before language.
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