When Gennady Tkachenko-Papizh stepped out onto the stage of the reality singing competition Georgia’s Got Talent (and we’re talking Georgia the former Soviet country here, not the U.S. state), the audience and judges had no idea what they were in for.
These are just a few of the reactions:
There seem to be two ways of reacting to the unique vocal performance – either total, rapt amazement or utter confusion followed by a bit of giggling.
Nevertheless, the millions of views the video has racked up on YouTube alone (and there are millions more on Facebook) means that shortly after his performance in 2016, he was one of the most famous people on the Internet.
When Tkachenko-Papizh took the stage, he simply said “Let us try to feel what the Mother Earth wants to tell us” before launching into a series of clicks and bird noises.
His voice itself is amazing. Belting out the long and high notes, he sounds like a cross between an opera singer and a track you’d hear while you’re getting a massage at the spa.
The judges were all enamored with the unique performance and the audience was completely entranced.
Even judges who at the beginning of the performance seemed skeptical soon began to appreciate the almost mystical sounds they were hearing.
But there are plenty of people who have watched it simply because it’s known as one of the strangest performances ever.
According to a profile of Tkachenko-Papizh in the New York Times, the performance went viral after Miss Arab U.S.A. Fabiola al-Ibrahim posted it to her Facebook page with the caption “This will take you to another world!”
And many commenters agreed:
70 million people viewed it on her page and another 5 million viewed just one of the many YouTube clips floating around, one of which you can watch by scrolling down below.
It really is the kind of thing you have to see for yourself (and all the way through) in order to form an opinion.
But it hasn’t impressed everyone:
The singer himself – who believes the Earth and angels speak through him while he’s performing – had to fend off fans, agents, and producers wanting to make him a superstar a few years back. Alas, that hasn’t happened.
But Tkachenko-Papizh has quite a repertoire. The Russian-born performer studied the circus arts, drama and opera before becoming a stage actor, singer, and even doing stints as a mime and a clown. He’s still performing and during his popular period, he admitted he had no interest in becoming rich or famous.
He did move on to the next round of the show, however, after one of the judges slammed on the button and made confetti rain down on everyone.
From the video and the standing ovation, you might think he won it all.
Even the backstage hosts were off their feet, shouting and whooping at his performance.
Alas, he didn’t win the competition, or even get much farther. But he did briefly win the Internet.
Now, according to his Facebook page, he lives in Berlin with his family, where he’s still a stage performer and singer.
Seemingly unwilling to let other people take control of his career, he’s returned to what he loves, with only his viral video to remind us of the performance that once took the Internet by storm.
Have a look below and see what you think about his performance of “Sounds of the Earth.”
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