GENGHIS BLUES is a low-budget documentary about blind blues singer Paul Pena’s fascination with the strange “throat singing” of Tuvan nomads, a unique ethnic group located in the Tuva province of Russia. Located just north of Mongolia between China and Russia, Tuva had a short bout of independence between 1921 and 1944 before the Soviet Union took it over after the Tuvans helped the Russians defeat Nazi Germany.
Pena travels to Tuva to compete in a contest for throat singers, a style of folksinging that harmonically mixes high-pitched and guttural, low-pitched singing, all by one singer. Pena has sung with such blues people as Johnny Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and especially T-Bone Walker. Tragically, Pena lost his wife in the early 1990s. A group in San Francisco called the Friends of Tuva organized his trip to Tuva in 1995.
The first half of this 80-minute documentary gives a description of throat singing and a discussion of how short-wave radio introduced Pena to throat singing, followed by his trip to Tuva. After singing once in the contest, Pena and his entourage explore the countryside before singing again. The second half of the documentary, however, discusses Pena’s interest in the shamanism and Buddhism of Tuva, including an occult discussion of demons/devils possessing objects and an occult attempt to conjure the ghost of a famous scientist who was also obsessed with Tuva. These things, plus the somewhat boring obsession with all things Tuvan and some strong obscenities, make GENGHIS BLUES completely unacceptable philosophically, theologically and ethically.
Like the Tuvan people, Pena is a shamanistic nomad who needs the power of Jesus Christ in his life if he truly wants to overcome the trials and tribulations of a blind man living in a world of sighted people.
False religious worldview of shamanism & Buddhism (with strong New Age & pagan overtones), occult discussion of demons/devils possessing objects, occult attempt to conjure ghost of famous scientist; 17 obscenities, 4 profanities & 1 blasphemy; somewhat graphic scene of sheep sluaghtering in Central Asia; upper male nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, poor blind man lets situations make him depressed, whiny, overly irritated, & somewhat rude to other people.