Sounds of Xanadu

This work is winning audience awards at festivals all over the world, and it's easy to see why. Although it's not much more than an exuberant home movie, Roko Belic's film Genghis Blues perfectly captures his subject's motley, epic journey to the almost mythical republic of Tuva. Blind blues musician, San Francisco resident, and self-taught Tuvan-style throat singer Paul Pena and his newfound soulmate, throat-singing master Kongar-ol Ondar forge an uncommonly hearty, infectious bond (Ondar serenading Pena on the banks of the sacred Chadanaa River is but one of the film's many rhapsodic moments), and the strength of their friendship, as well as Pena's remarkable expedition, is more than enough to overcome the raggedness of the filmmaking.

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