Old Man’s River: Genghis Blues

Richard Feynman was a genius. He did many amazing things. One of the more unusual things he did in his life was to make gargantuan efforts to visit the Soviet republic of Tuva. Even more unusually, he failed to do this, held up by the politics and bureaucracy of the Cold War; papers permitting him to visit Tuva arrived the day after he died.

His attempts to visit Tuva are chronicled in the book Tuva or Bust. But that’s not all.

Recommendation 7: (film)

Genghis Blues. A film that won the Sundance Audience Award, was even nominated for an Oscar. The story of blind blues musician Paul Pena’s travels and travails en route Tuva, seeking to discover and sustain the mysterious art of “throat-singing”, otherwise called overtone singing or Khoomei. Done as a documentary, with real footage of Pena. And Feynman. And B.B.King.

Fascinating.

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