I've got several CDs of Tuvan music, and this one is the best introduction for someone new to the subject. Tuva is a small region in Russian Asia, nestled in the mountains between Siberia and Mongolia. Herders who got bored spending their days in the countryside on horseback developed throat-singing, in which a singer can sing two notes at once, a low drone and a higher melody. The high part is produced from the overtones of the low note. The style began with a cappella singing, then was extended to include music on banjo- and violin-like instruments, with a rhythm like American cowboy music. This CD includes plenty of songs by Kongar-ool Ondar and Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, two of the first Tuvans to tour America. There are several examples of various styles of hoomei (the Tuvan word for throat-singing--the English spelling of this and ALL Tuvan words varies from album to album), including by an 11-year-old student of Ondar's. There are examples of modern variations on Tuvan music, including the title track from the "Fly, Fly My Sadness" collaboration album between Tuvan group Huun-Huur-Tu and the Bulgarian women's choir Angelite. And there is Paul Pena, the blind American blues singer (and writer of Steve Miller's "Jet Airliner") who learned throat-singing on his own and won an award at a Tuvan throat-singing festival, as chronicled in the Oscar-nominated documentary "Genghis Blues". (The CD suggests that it includes a live version of Pena's award-winning performance, but doesn't explain how he could be playing two guitars at once.) My only complaint with the CD is that there is too much of Mikhail Alperin's Tuvan-Russian hybrid projects (4 tracks), and not enough traditional Tuvan songs done with instruments, especially the banjo-like doshpuluur. A perfect Tuvan compilation would include the caravan-drivers' song ("Tying Siirtuktiilerining Iri") and "Ches Bulungum"; for those, look for the CD "Tuva: Voices from the Land of the Eagles".
What makes this CD a better choice than "Land of the Eagles" is the 64-page book on Tuva that is included in the "Deep in the Heart" package. It provides an introduction to Tuvan history and culture, important notes on cuisine (like a recipe for blood sausage, and how to prepare and serve the honored dish "Fat of Lamb's Tail"), and simple explanations of how to throat-sing. For example, to perform the whistling sound of the sygyt style of hoomei, put your mouth in the position to make the sound "ur" as in "urn", tighten your throat, and do a Kermit the Frog impersonation as you sing "ur-ee, ur-ee". Now go practice.