Indigenous music sings a siren song to roving student

Mary Lingwall


This afternoon, UT graduate student Eliot Stone will leave for Russia, where he will spend the rest of the summer continuing his research on the indigenous music and cultures of inner Asia. While this task might seem daunting to most, Stone smiles in anticipation. His attraction to this area of study focuses on one of the world’s most unique treasures: Tuvan throat singing. One of the oldest singing traditions wherein individual singers are able to perform in multiple pitches simultaneously, Tuvan throat singing has captivated Stone since he stumbled upon it while studying abroad in Amsterdam a few years ago.
But this Del Rio native isn’t strictly research-minded. When Stone isn’t studying the Tuvan peoples of Russia, he likes to rock climb at the Greenbelt, kayak and handcraft wooden musical instruments — especially the didgeridoo, an indigenous Australian wind instrument.
Stone’s musical tastes are almost as eclectic as the activities that color his life. From Modest Mouse to Bulgarian folk songs, a conversation with Stone about music is one that spans the globe.
“I like pretty much everything,” Stone said. “I like expressions in all forms … but I especially enjoy the blending of folk music and electronica.”
Though Stone will be away from Austin for the rest of the summer, he will return in August to finish his last year of graduate study in UT’s Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies department. So for now, you’re going to have to get to know him from a distance, starting with an introduction to his favorite music. And Stone’s current top 10 songs — which range from tracks exploring religious themes, such as Modest Mouse’s “Spitting Venom,” to the hip-hop-inspired electronica band Massive Attack’s “Angel” — are bound to keep even the most open-minded listeners on their toes.
1. Haun Haur Tu, “Tuvan International” YouTube
2. Modest Mouse, “Spitting Venom” YouTube
3. Crystal Method, “Starting Over” YouTube
4. Massive Attack, “Angel” YouTube
5. Russian folk song, “Oh Frost Frost” YouTube
6. The Avalanches, “Frontier Psychologists” YouTube
7. Justice, all MySpace
8. Alash Ensemble, “Ene Sai” YouTube
9. Sicks Pack, “Lose and Lose Can Be” MySpace
10. A Bulgarian folk song