D. Batsükh, A. Baldandorj & J. CURTET

Teachers : Johanni CURTET, Batsükh Dorj & Bardandorj Avirmed
In partnership with Routes Nomades


Khöömii, or Mongolian diphonic singing, is the vocal form best known to foreigners, but it forms part of a richer musical whole, linked to nature and the Altai mountains in western Mongolia.

To discover the khöömii in a broader diphonic universe, this new masterclass proposes 3 complementary approaches:

khöömii: as a fundamental vocal technique used to enhance and embellish the praise repertoire and the playing of the tsuur flute;
songs of praise: practised with throat singing (pressed voice close to the khöömii installation phase), a repertoire favoured by diphone players;
the tsuur flute: played simultaneously with a guttural vocal drone, this is a diphonic instrument with a strong connection to nature, used by the shepherds of Altai.


Alternating each day between Batsükh Dorj and Baldandorj Avrimed, the teaching will focus on :
– khöömei (pressed diphonic singing),
– sygyt (whistled diphonic singing),
– kargyraa (deep diphonic singing),
– repertoire of Tuvas songs
– songs of praise, technique and learning the repertoire, in particular the Altai song of praise
– tsuur flute: playing technique and repertoire

The aim of this masterclass, led by the noblest representatives and bearers of the tradition in Mongolia, is to discover or, depending on the level, to gain a better understanding of the diphonic universe surrounding the khöömii through other repertoires and associated vocal and instrumental practices.


Open to all (18 years old and over).
The Master-Class is open to beginners for the first 2 or 3 days, and throughout the period for the more advanced.




Descended from a family of bards (tuulich) for 9 generations, Baldandorj is the son of Avirmed Baatar, the first and only Mongolian rhapsode to have received the highest distinction from the Mongolian state. As a child, he learned epics (tuuli), praises and how to play the tovshuur lute and tsuur flute alongside his father. He also learnt Altain magtaal (song of praise to the Altai), which lasts between 20 and 30 minutes and is used as a prelude to obtain the clemency of the master spirits of the place so that the epics can run smoothly. Spiritually charged, this praise also marks the zenith of the musical offering made by traditional musicians to nature and the universe. Today Baldandorj has taken over the role of tuulich at local and national level. He is one of the rare traditional bards to revitalise the epic in Mongolia. Although he was once attached to the theatre of Khovd in the Altai, he is now recognised by the Mongolian state as the bearer of the oral tradition of the epic, included on the national list of bearers of intangible cultural heritage.

Batsükh was born in 1990 in the municipality of Tsengel, in the province of Bayan-Ölgii in Mongolia. Initiated by Papizan Badar, he learned Khöömei with his older brother Bütemj, and listened to the recordings. He developed his practice in Tuva alongside the famous overtone singers of the Alash and Chirgilchin ensembles. He graduated from the music college of the Tuva Republic (Russia). He masters several techniques of Khöömei, in Mongolian and Tuva styles: Khöömii (pressed overtone singing), Sygyt (whistled KhöömIi), Kargyraa (deep Khöömei), ezengileer, borbagnadyr; the playing of the igil fiddle and the toshpuluur lute; and violin making, learned from Aldar Tamdyn. Batsükh participates in many traditional festivals and arts competitions, as well as in national and regional Khöömei competitions.

Johanni Curtet is a musician, ethnomusicologist, teacher of overtone singing and producer. Trained first by Tran Quang Hai, his traditional learning was provided to him by D. Tserendavaa in the Altai Steppes, and B. Odsüren at the University of Arts and Culture of Ulaanbaatar. He teaches Khöömii at the Philharmonie of Paris, the University Rennes 2, Le Pont Supérieur, DROM; in festivals such as Les Suds in Arles, Les Orientales, for professional musicians (Camille), the associative network in amateur practice, and recently at United States universities on the East Coast. Apart from his main trio, Meïkhâneh, he has played with Voix du Sahel (C. Zekri, Y. Moumouni…); in trio with Tserendavaa & Tsogtgerel, in Urbi&Orbi by Pierrick Lefranc (with X. Dessandre Navarre, J. Florent, S. Bernardo, J.-B. Henry) or the electric opera Eve futures by Alain Basso (with É. Trémolière, L. Tejeda…). As a researcher, he is a temporary employee and attached to the University Rennes 2. In 2010, he participated in the inscription of Mongolian Khöömii on the representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity at UNESCO.

• Une Anthologie du khöömii mongol, (2017, Buda Musique/Routes Nomades)

Voyage en Diphonie, de J.-F. Castell (2018, Les Films du rocher)

In partnership with Routes Nomades:
Texts : Johanni Curtet
Information: www.routesnomades.fr
Copyright photos : © Sh. Nomindari