Overtone Music Network

a common space & database for harmonic overtones

Thanks to the documentary film, Genghis Blues, Paul Pena is now known and appreciated throughout the world for his amazing accomplishments as a musician, particularly for having taught himself the techniques of traditional Tuvan singing.

K.O.& Paul perform at the Presidio Chapel (SF) Jan. 6, 2000. Paul's wearing a traditional Tuvan robe and hat that he was given during his epic journey to Tuva.

Paul Pena was born on January 26, 1950 in Hyannis, MA, the oldest child of Jack and Virginia Pena. His grandparents came from the Cape Verde Islands off the west coast of Africa. He was born with congenital glaucoma. When he was five, he began school at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown (a suburb of Boston). He graduated in 1967 and then attended Clark University in Worcester, MA.


As a young child, Paul soon showed his talent for music. His mother heard him picking out melodies and chords on a baby grand piano that had been found in the town dump and brought home, 'as a toy that a blind child might enjoy.' He developed 'perfect pitch.' Soon Paul was studying the piano, guitar, upright bass, violin and 'a little trumpet.' He played and sang popular jazz and Cape Verdian ballads with his father, a professional jazz musician, and also sang in his school choruses. Paul appeared in a talent show, and while in college, performed in coffeehouses in Worcester.

In 1969, Paul played in the Newport Folk Festival 'in the Contemporary Composer's Workshop with such people as James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Kris Kristofferson.' In 1971, Paul moved to San Francisco and recorded his first marketed record for Capital Records, which was released in 1973.

In his musical career Paul played with many of the blues greats, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Mississippi Fred McDowell, 'Big Bones,' and T. Bone Walker. His song, 'Jet Airliner,' recorded by the Steve Miller Band, was a hit in the 1970s. Another album, recorded by Bearsville Records, was never released. It is scheduled to be released in the year 2000. To find out more about this album click here.

During this period Paul's wife, Babe, suffered kidney failure. Paul gave up his musical career at that point in order to take care of her. She died in 1991. He suffered greatly from her loss.

Paul first heard a fragment of harmonic singing on a shortwave Radio Moscow broadcast on December 29, 1984 and he was so struck by it, he spent almost eight years trying to track down its source. In 1991 he was finally able to locate a recording of Tuvan music and taught himself the vocal techniques known as 'Khoomei, Sygyt, and Kargyraa'. In addition, he learned a good bit of the Tuvan language using English-Russian and Russian-Tuvan dictionaries and an obsolete 'Opticon' scanning device which translates text into sensations. In 1993, Paul attended a concert sponsored by the Friends of Tuva organization and met Kongar-ol Ondar after the performance. Paul gave Kongar-ol an impromptu demonstration--and astonished him with his talent and mastery of traditional Tuvan singing. The two men formed a strong friendship along with their musical collaboration.

In 1995, Kongar-ol invited Paul to sing at the second international Khoomei Symposium and contest, held in Tuva's capital city, Kyzyl. Ralph Leighton and the "Friends of Tuva" sponsored his trip. Paul took first place in the Kargyraa division of the contest and became known as 'Earthquake' for his amazingly deep voice. He also won the 'audience favorite' award. Filmmakers Adrian and Roko Belic accompanied Paul to Tuva to film the contest and his travels through Tuva, guided by Kongar-ol. Paul and Kongar-ol have also recorded a compact disc called Genghis Blues, which combines American blues singing, Cape Verdian 'morna,' and Tuvan Khoomei.

Since the release of the film, Genghis Blues, and the CD Sountrack , Paul was named 'San Francisco's Tuvan Blues Ambassador' and July 11, 1999 was declared 'Paul Pena Day' by the mayor. Paul has also been diagnosed with a pancreatic illness. He is on the long road to recovery.

Sources:

Paul Pena's promotional autobiography, sent to Roko Belic

Paul Pena, A National Living Treasure in Cole Valley, by Fred Cirillo

CD's|Shows Letter From Paul|Photos|Biography|Paul Fund

http://paulpena.com/bio.html

This content has been seen 320 times

Comment

You need to be a member of OMN to add comments. Sign up, it's free!

Join Overtone Music Network

Sponsored by:

Latest Activity

Timber Freier Träumer (Hanfreich posted an event
Thumbnail

Obertongesang (Grundkurs) mit Timber - in Stuttgart at Stuttgart, Forum 3

April 27, 2024 from 11am to 6pm
Friday
Julia Renöckl posted a blog post
Feb 12
Julia Renöckl is now in contact with Timber Freier Träumer (Hanfreich
Feb 12
Julia Renöckl posted a status
"Obertonkurs in der www.stimmwerkstatt.at am 16. und 17. März 2024"
Feb 12
Timber Freier Träumer (Hanfreich is now in contact with Filip Rydlo
Feb 10
Jens Mügge commented on Bruno Amstad's photo
Feb 7
Sukadev Bretz posted a video

He Prabho by Mantra Circle

He prabho ananda-data jnana hama ko dijieShighra sare durguno ko dura hama se kijieLijie hama ko sharana me hama sad-achari baneBrahmachari, dharma-rakshaka,...
Jan 20
Jens Mügge commented on Willi Grimm's video
Jan 13
Willi Grimm posted a video

WSP Oberbalm Juli 2021 - Kailash Kokopelli

Klang im Wasserspeicher OberbalmEin Zeitungsbericht im Juli 2020 gab den Anstoss, dass wieder einmal ein akustisch ganz besonderer Raum klanglich ausgelotet ...
Jan 9
Willi Grimm updated their profile
Jan 9
3 photos by Bernd Michael Sommer were featured
Dec 31, 2023
Sukadev Bretz posted a video

Adi Divya Jyoti by Mantra Circle

DmAdi-divya-jyoti maha-kali-ma namahMadhu-shumbha-mahisha-mardini maha-shaktaye namahBrahma-vishnu-shiva-svarupa tvam na anyatha Characharasya palika namo na...
Dec 28, 2023

© 2007 - 2024   Legal Notice - Privacy Policy - Sponsored by Yoga Vidya, Germany -   Powered by

 |  Support | Privacy  |  Terms of Service