San Francisco bluesman and composer, Paul Peña makes a musical pilgrimage to the land of Tuva.




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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins. See more awards »
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Credited cast:
Richard Feynman ...
Himself (archive footage)
Kongar-ol Ondar
Paul Pena
Aislinn Scofield ...


The extraordinary odyssey of a U.S. musician of Cape Verdean ancestry to Tannu Tuva, in central Asia, where nomadic people throat sing more than one note simultaneously, using vocal harmonics. A bluesman, Paul Pena, blind and recently widowed, taught himself throat singing and was by chance invited to the 1995 throat-singing symposium in Kyzyl. Helped by the "Friends of Tuva," Pena makes the arduous journey. Singing in the deep, rumbling kargyraa style, Pena gives inspired performances at the festival, composes songs in Tuvan, washes his face in sacred rivers, expresses the disorientation of blindness in foreign surroundings, and makes a human connection with everyone he meets. Written by <>

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Release Date:

28 October 1999 (New Zealand)  »

Also Known As:

Dzsingiz blues  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$32,606 (USA) (9 July 1999)


$323,881 (USA) (24 March 2000)

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Did You Know?


Director Christopher Nolan receives one of his earliest credits on this documentary, when he is listed under 'Editorial Assistance'. When he spent 3 years in Chicago as a child, he was friends with Roko and Adrian Belic and the three of them made short Super 8 movies together. See more »


References Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

I loved it, but my friends did not because...
18 October 1999 | by (New Zealand) – See all my reviews

I loved it, but my friends did not because they said it was too much of a documentary. Egad - what did they think it was going to be?!! Yes, it is very much a documentary, but Paul Pena (the main character)was such a warm character who was so REAL. Kongar-ol Ondar's (the superstar of Tuva) happiness was wonderfully infectious. The insights into the country of Tuva would satisfy any armchair traveler. I enjoyed the music, in spite of the wierd throat noise, but my friends (we are 36, 50, 52 yrs old) found the low gutteral tones off-putting. My advice is that if you would like to see a very original movie made in a very remote place (Tuva is not even in my big new Times atlas!) about a blind man with a big warm heart, and you don't mind documentaries - run and see it!!!

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