Zor’s Sukha-khur and Zor with Evgenii Tkachev’s Kukushechka EP

cover, Suukha KhurOne of the participants in the 2024 Russian World Music Chart is Suukha-hur the third album by Buryat musician Zorigto Batotsyrenov (stage name Zor).

The album is named after a musical instrument featured in this release. The suukha–khur is one of the most ancient musical instruments of the Republic of Buryatia. It has only one string and is considered the progenitor of the morin khuur. According to legend, the sound of the suukha–khur connects the musician and the listener with the departed ancestors and also sends your consciousness to the endless sun-scorched steppes of Buryatia and to the cozy hearth of a warm yurt.

The musician Zor, having been on stage for more than 30 years, has a fine sense of national music, and at the same time, his work is very original and filled with deep philosophy. Although Zor was originally a guitarist, he has now mastered the two–string suukha-hur perfectly. But in the album Suukha-hur the musician went even further. The album is based on an instrument with only one string and the musician’s own voice. However, with this, he creates a truly magical sound!

Zor doesn’t closely follow any particular folk compositions on this album. It mixes ethnic blues with modern rhythms played on ethnic drums. And despite such a seemingly modest instrumental arsenal, the album sounds holistic, complete, and surprisingly harmonious. The album Suukha-hur contains nine compositions, some of which are only instrumental, such as “Ekhor” and “B minor for Suukha-khur, ” while others are decorated with vocals. They are all united by the specific rhythm of the music of the peoples of Siberian Asia.

The artist was born in Ulan-Ude, and he spends much time studying Buryat folklore today. At the same time, he also writes original music. With Rashid Sayliubai, Zor plays guitar in the band Hama Ugy, which regularly performs at various festivals. In 2022 Zor’s album “Buu Ai” was one of the top five ethnic albums in Russia according to the results of voting by the international jury of the Russian World Music Chart. Zor’s songs have appeared in soundtracks for the films Gone, Bulag, Bulag 2, and 321 Siberian.

Zor’s EP Kukushechka, recorded with Evgeny Tkachev in Krasnoyarsk, is also participating in the 2024 season of the Russian World Music Chart. It’s a short EP, containing only two compositions: the Russian memorial spiritual verse of the Penza region, “Kukushechka,” and the Buryat folk song “Narin Khukhy” (perky cuckoo). These songs were played and sung with Evgeny Tkachev (Rasputin), a member of the legendary Tuvan group Yat-ha. These two compositions are polar opposites – the sincere and sad first and the dancing and joyful second. These songs are played on the same instruments, but sung in different languages.

(Baikal Music, 2024)

Stream Suukha-khur on YouTube.
Stream Zor’s previous album Buu Ai on YouTube.
A song with Zor on guitar with Hama Ugy.



Tatiana Naryshkina

Tatiana Naryshkina is a folk singer, musician, writer, and teacher. In 2005 she and her husband founded the Russian folk music ensemble Vedan Kolod, in which she plays many instruments and is lead singer. She is member of the Russian Folklore Union and the Russian Musical Union (Guild of Composers) as well as a panelist of the Russian World Music Chart and Transglobal World Music Chart, and a co-founder of the NarVal musical instrument workshop. She has written for Folk Galore magazine, World Music Central online magazine, and various folk music blogs. She enjoys "the outdoors, especially in the steppes and forests; foxes; exploring archaeological and natural monuments; studying national cuisine; and, of course, music!"

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