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Andrei in the office


Andrei's Universe

One man's journey from infinity to nothingness

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Andrei in the office

Popeye, Tuvan Singer... so says Billy West

I got to hear a panel with a series of respected members of the voice-over industry. Among them were: Joe Alaskey, Gregg Berger, Neil Ross, Tom Kenny and of course Billy West.

On an unrelated note, I got to see a tribute to voice GODDESS June Foray, later that afternoon.

West (besides ranting viciously on the influx of 'celebrities' into the world of voice-work) talked about getting the job for voicing Popeye. He was listening to recordings and realized that there were two parts to Popeye's voice. These two parts were offset by an octave. He was further amazed when at a concert demonstrating Tuvan throat singing, he'd come to the realization that Popeye's voice worked the same way.

After a great deal of time and practice, he'd managed to get the octave buzzing in his throat, each vocal chord hitting a different octave. This gave the voice that high voice with a lower octave buzz.

Needless to say, the last thing I was expecting was to hear a lecture on Tuvan meditation from the guy who voiced Stimpy the Cat and Fry from Futurama.

I have only ever seen one other entertainer do this. There was a ventriloquist... who's name I will never remember. He did a routine with 2 dummies. A Mortermer Snerd style and a prissy female. At one point he swaps their voices. Towards the end of the routine he sings, "Wherever we go, we're gonna go thru it together." He does it as a trio, singing one voice at a time. At one point he sings (in his own voice,) "Wherever..." the two dummies follow him in chorus, "Together..." With one voice the deep silly bass and the other falsetto. At the time I thought it had to be looped... But the Sound is unmistakable.

I wish I could remember the name of the ventriloquist, because the performance was stunning.

Just random notes while procrastinating on a sunday evening.

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June is a neat lady. I'll never forget, ages ago (early 1980s), when the UCLA Computer Club arranged for June Foray and Bill Scott to speak. One hilarious evening!

FYI, Tuvan Throat Singing is a major interest of mine, and I manage a LJ community on the subject, khoomei.

There are three basic styles of Tuvan Throat Singing, khoomei, sygyt, and kargyraa. Kargyraa is the one that sounds like Popeye. Only different...

I hadn't made the connection

I knew of Tuvan Throat Singing specifically from your posts on the topic. I knew roughly what it was but hadn't made the connection to the ventriloquist I'd seen many (read: over 15) years ago.

When West brought the topic up I immediately thought about your posts on the topic. Then he gave a very complete description and an even more effective demonstration of the process.

Re: I hadn't made the connection

Yeah, I've noticed that for a long time about Popeye's voice. Having studied and practiced certain types of throat-singing and chant, I can do it a little bit, but my particular voice timbre doesn't sound much like Popeye.

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