in Tuva  Read the Tuvan newspaper Center of Asia

Visit the Tuva-Online news site for the latest news from Tuva Wednesday 11/20/2002
by Steve Sklar

International Association for Harmonic Singing
Invitation and Mission Statement

Greetings all,

The International Association for Harmonic Singing (IAHS) was founded by Steve Sklar in 2002 in response to the rapidly growing worldwide interest in all forms of harmonic singing, traditional and modern. Its aim is to support and promote the interests and activities of those in the harmonic singing world, including:

In order to assure a high level of integrity and quality, we have assembled an international Advisory Board composed of outstanding experts from varied disciplines and regions.

At this time, we wish to invite the public to join us as IAHS members. There are 3 levels of membership:

1. Free: We have created an online community at Khoo-Maniacs. There are several forums there, and all are free of charge. We invite you to visit often! Also, everyone is welcome to the resources at This website's focus is primarily but not exclusively Tuvan Throat-Singing, and contains many useful resources, including articles, spectrograms, links, and videos.

2. E-Journal Subscriber, Email Version: You can support the IAHS, and receive a subscrption to the IAHS quarterly electronic journal. This will feature instructional columns; interviews, question-and-answers; news developments such as recordings, performances, publications; articles of interest; FAQs; editorials; audio and video files. It will be published as an html document, with links to the audio and video files on the IAHS web server.

3. E-Journal Subscriber, CD Version: This deluxe subscription will include everything in the above Email Edition, with additional audio and video files delivere to you on CD.

All files on both editions will be virus-checked with Norton Antivirus before being distributed.

To join the International Association for Harmonic Singing, please click here.

I look forward to hearing from you! 

Steve Sklar
Founder, IAHS
Friday 06/07/2002
by Ralph Leighton
Caltech's 2002 Commencement, is available as streaming video at:

The video streams will be available by category, that is, baccalaureate, masters, and Ph.D. presentations as well as the Alan Alda keynote address, President's remarks, etc.

Alan Alda played Richard Feynman in QED which played to full houses in LA and NY. Sunday 01/13/2002
by John Varoli, The New York Times Scythian Gold From Siberia Said to Predate the Greeks

ST. PETERSBURG, Jan. 8 -- Russian scholars from the State Hermitage Museum have concluded that a discovery of Scythian gold in a Siberian grave last summer is the earliest of its kind ever found and that it predates Greek influence. The find is leading to a change in how scholars view the supposed barbaric, nomadic tribes that once roamed the Eurasian steppes.

The dig near Kyzyl, the capital of the Siberian republic of Tuva, revealed almost 5,000 decorative gold pieces -- earrings, pendants and beads -- that adorned the bodies of a Scythian man and woman, presumably royalty, and dated from the fifth or sixth centuries B.C. In addition to the gold, which weighed almost 44 pounds, the archaeologists discovered items made of iron, turquoise, amber and wood.

"There are many great works of art -- figures of animals, necklaces, pins with animals carved into a golden surface," said Dr. Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the Hermitage Museum. "It is an encyclopedia of Scythian animal art because you have all the animals which roamed the region, such as panther, lions, camels, deer, etc. This is the original Scythian style, from the Altai region, which eventually came to the Black Sea region and finally in contact with ancient Greece, and it resembles almost an Art Nouveau style."

Russian and German archaeologists excavated a Scythian burial mound on a grassy plain that locals have long called the Valley of the Kings because of the large number of burial mounds of Scythian and other ancient nomadic royalty.

The fierce nomadic Scythian tribes roamed the Eurasian steppe, from the northern borders of China to the Black Sea region, in the seventh to third centuries B.C. In the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. they interacted with the ancient Greeks who had colonized the Black Sea region, which is now in Ukraine and southern Russia. Not surprisingly ancient Greek influence was evident in Scythian gold previously discovered, but the recent find dates from before contact with the Greeks and from the heart of Siberia where, scholars say, contact with outsiders can almost be excluded.

Research on the Tuva burial mound, known as Arzhan 2, began in 1998, and to the amazement of scholars the grave was discovered to be untouched, though failed attempts by grave robbers to locate the burial chamber were evident on the sprawling, 185-foot-long, 5-foot-high mound. This was the first such discovery since the early 1700's, when Russian explorers brought Scythian treasures to Czar Peter the Great, a find that became the State Hermitage Museum's collection of Scythian gold. All burial mounds explored since then had been robbed.

To avoid contamination and disturbing the items stored in the grave, the Russian and German archaelogists entered it first with a small remote-control video camera to study how burial items were originally arranged and to reconstruct the burial rituals. The discovery was made by Russian scholars from the Hermitage Museum and the St. Petersburg branch of the Russian Institute of Cultural and Natural Heritage, led by the Russian archaeologist Konstantin Chugonov, who has been studying Bronze Age and Scythian sites in Tuva for 20 years.

German scholars also took part in the dig and were led by Herman Parzinger and Anatoli Nagler from the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin.

"Tuva's Valley of the Kings has long been a major area of interest for archaeologists because it contains the largest burial mounds in the region of Tuva and in all of the Altai region," Mr. Chugonov said. "We chose to work on those mounds in greatest danger, and we chose this one because of all the major mounds it is the most damaged."

About 25 percent of the excavated burial mound, which is stone slate, was destroyed when Soviet authorities built a road through the area in the 1960's. Over the years, residents walked off with pieces of the stone to use in building their houses.

After its discovery, the treasure was sent to the Hermitage Museum for storage and restoration, and it will stay there until Tuva can build a museum to house the items. This is in accordance with Russian Federation law stating that items be displayed in their place of discovery so long as local authorities provide the proper conditions.

Building such a museum is years away, however, Dr. Piotrovksy said. Until then they will remain in the Hermitage, and at some point will be put on display.

Though the Russian-German dig began last May, preparations took almost three years. Scholars first approached the burial mound in 1998, studying it with geophysical equipment allowing them, without excavating, to determine the presence of almost 200 items inside. The first reconnaissance dig was made in the summer of 2000.

"The find was not an accident, because scholars know there are burial mounds in that area, but most were robbed, and empty," Dr. Piotrovsky said. "Their success in actually finding something was a combination of hard work and luck." Wednesday 12/21/2001
by Eric Slone

TTCS Updated Warning:

An article was published today in the New Times Broward/Palm Beach newspaper on TTCS and Ken Simon that should be of great interest to those who have been following this saga. The link for the article is

Unfortunately the saga with Tannu Tuva Collectors Society (TTCS) seems to be dragging on.  Most recently, they have launched a new website to try and bring new members to the club.  This is unfortunate, because in the past two+ years, only three newsletters have been published (of questionable quality) and this is the only benefit members are able to derive from their dues.

Correspondence to Mr. Simon continues to go unanswered from many people asking for an explanation of the lack of club activities.  For my inquiries, my lifetime membership was revoked. 

The following information is what we know and offer as advise to our visitors:

  1. TTCS was incorporated in New Zealand, but has since lost their corporate recognition in September 2000.  This information is publicly available from the website 

  2. Although TTCS purports to be a corporation, please be aware that Mr. Simon requests that all payments be made to him personally.  We understand that there is no accounting of TTCS funds or separation of these funds from Mr. Simon's personal monies.

  3. If you have sent TTCS money or merchandise and want a refund, you are encouraged to write to Ken Simon at his last known address:

       513 - 6th Ave. S.,
       Lake Worth, FL  33460-4507

  4. Please file complaints with the USPS for mail fraud, and The American Philatelic Society (Helen Bruno, 814-237-3803 x202,  TTCS is APS affiliate number 235.

  5. Mr. Simon has accepted consignment merchandise from vendors which he has (presumably) sold but has not repaid them.  He does not respond to their correspondence either (according to reports I've received).  Beware of sending him anything without confirmed prepayment.  This includes items for club auctions.

  6. Mr. Simon stated that he was experiencing financial problems, and it would seem that he is using misappropriated club funds as a means to assist his own income (from both dues and sales of merchandise).  It has come to our attention that a sizable financial judgment was made against Mr. Simon recently which may account for the new attempts at raising membership.

  7. Mr. Simon stated that he was too busy to fulfill the requirements of running the club, and yet repeatedly refused to accept assistance from a number of members who stepped forward and volunteered help.  It was brought to my attention by APS officials that they too suggested that he have other people take on roles in the organization to prevent just such a problem from occurring.

It is regrettable that it has come to this, as many of us have worked long and hard to create an ongoing environment for people interested in Tuva.  We hope that Mr. Simon's actions will not reflect badly on the work so many of us have endeavored to do. Sunday 09/30/2001
by Ralph Leighton
This week's "Tsentr Azii" newspaper (#39, 21-27 September) has an article on the visit by American missionaries to Tuva:

"More Personal Contacts, More Friendship Among Peoples" by Ralya Kama

Our correspondent Vitalij Shaifulin invited to our offices American guests Bill Rainey and Dale Kisling. They came to Tyva both as members of  the American organization Friends of Tuva and as Christian missionaries.   On the 12th of September in our editorial offices there was an informal meeting with guests from the American states of Tennessee. They came to Tyva in order to help our spiritual rebirth, help in regaining values that we have lost.   Dale Kisling said that he first came to Tyva in 1997. Our guests are members of a Christian Presbyterian church in Tennessee. And for more than 7 years they've been interested in Tyva. They invested in translating the film, "Jesus Christ" into Tyvan and are currently preparing to publish a Tyvan-language version of the Bible. For them the Tyvan people, Tyva itself, are very dear to their hearts.  Bill Rainey first heard about Tyva from the famous American scholar  Richard Feynman. And in his honor was created Friends of Tuva. They distribute books about Tyva, disks, video materials with various musical numbers of Tyvan artists.  The American guests visited all the churches in Tyva and helped spread the good news about Christ.   In addition, the organization Friends of Tuva wants to create here a cultural Christian center and it is hoped that financing would come from both sides. In this center would be exhibited documents about Richard Feynman, his biography, portrait, scientific work. There would be a reading room, exhibition gallery where anyone who wanted to could come.

And FOT's response:

Dear Ms. Antif'eva,

Regarding the article "More Personal Contacts, More Friendship Among Peoples" by Ralya Kama:

Two Americans who are guests in your country, Bill Rainey and Dale Kisling, say they plan to "create a cultural Christian center that features Richard Feynman on behalf of Friends of Tuva." Mr. Rainey and Mr. Kisling have mislead your readers and the Tuvan public by such statements.

The great American scientist Richard Feynman was fascinated by Tuvan culture as shown on its famous stamps of the 1930s. If he favored any religion at all in Tuva, it would have been shamanism. Friends of Tuva was created in Feynman's memory to promote interest in Tuvan culture, NOT to spread religion! It is disrespectful both to Tuvan culture and to the memory of Richard Feynman to create a Christian center that purports to be affiliated with Friends of Tuva!

It is through misleading statements like those of Mr. Rainey and Mr. Kisling that missionaries from outside Tuva earn a deservedly bad reputation. They should go home.

I am sorry to hear of such activities in your wonderful country.

My best wishes to the Tuvan people. May you have faith in your own traditions!

Izig baiyyr,
Ralph Leighton
Founder, Friends of Tuva