Best Vocalist, Male: Arrington De Dionyso

Growing up, a young Arrington De Dionyso recalls owning a book by famous “sound effects guy” Michael Winslow from Police Academy. “He wrote a book about mouth sounds that I had when I was 8 years old. It taught you how to make a bunch of sound effects using just your mouth.” De Dionyso would imitate animal sounds, make robot noises, and simulate dinosaur calls. One day when he was 5, De Dionyso accidentally stumbled upon the ancient art of throat-singing, a staple of Siberian folk music. He taught himself how to make his voice resonate with his throat to produce low, otherworldly polyphony—think monk chants mixed with UFO sounds. De Dionyso’s childhood forays into the outer limits of his vocal cords has made him one of today’s most captivating local vocalists. His Olympia-based group Malaikat Dan Singha is a fascinating jumble of punk, world, and trance music, and the glue that keeps it all together is De Dionyso’s shamanistic charisma. The group’s new K Records album, Open the Crown, is the first on which De Dionyso has sung in English (the previous LPs were all exclusively in Indonesian languages). He hoots, howls, and warbles his way through acid visions and esoterica. “When I’m onstage and I’m throat-singing, it feels incredible. It’s like taking 10 yoga classes all at once,” he says. He can rest assured knowing that his chakra-realigning performances make his audiences feel the same exact way.

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