K-Space member and solo player has died aged 49
Tuvan throat singer, percussionist and shaman Gendos Chamzyryn died from a heart attack on 18 June, aged 49. He is best known to western audiences for his work in K-Space, a group he formed with the improvising musicians Ken Hyder and Tim Hodgkinson.
Chamzyryn came from the rural region of Shui, West Tuva. His work as a folk (and, latterly, experimental) musician was always entwined with his deep involvement in shamanic practices. When he moved to the Tuvan capital Kyzyl in the 1980s he encountered the local rock scene, joining and becoming a key member of the avant garde shamanic group Biosintes in 1990. As well as a singer, he was a multi-instrumentalist, folk musician and improvisor. Like Sainkho Namtchylak (with whom he has recorded), he developed a distinctive way of working across traditional and experimental genres. He met Hyder and Hodgkinson in 1992, and in 1996 the three of them formed K-Space, a remarkable shamanic improvising trio.
Chamzryn had a flourishing solo career, as well as playing with numerous ensembles, including rock group Gen-DOS, Darky Medvedev, Alexej Saaia (formerly of Yat-Kha) and Igor Karalaev, and UGAAN, a folk-electronic collaboration with Polish musician Darek Makaruk.
"Gendos was instantly a brother to Tim Hodgkinson and me when we began playing together in K-Space,” commented Hyder. “We learned from each other. We were not identical characters. What bound us together was the spiritual aspect of all we did.
"We built on that accumulated shamanic approach and understanding, reaching a point on our last album Black Sky [recorded live in Sicily] where we might play individually in different tempi, say, then come together in the pocket, before moving on to something else. It was all improvised and seamless."
By Will Montgomery