Join us on Saturday, September 16th from 7:30 – 9:30 PM for a concert with Alash Ensemble!
Alash ensemble is a trio of master throat singers (xöömeizhi) from Tuva, a tiny republic in the heart of Central Asia. The ancient art of throat singing (xöömei) developed among the nomadic herdsmen of this region. Alash remains grounded in this tradition while expanding its musical vocabulary with new ideas from the West.
Alash takes its name from the Alash River, which runs through the musicians’ native region of Tuva. The ensemble members are graduates of the Kyzyl Arts College and students of Kongar-ool Ondar, the renowned master throat singer and member of the Tuvan parliament who is featured in the movie Genghis Blues.
In 1999, five first year students at the Kyzyl Arts College formed the ensemble Changy-Xaya, which would later evolve into Alash. The original members were Bady-Dorzhu Ondar, Ayan-ool Sam, Mai-ool Sedip, Ayan Shirizhik, and Sergei Sotpa.
The muscians have all been trained in traditional Tuvan music since childhood, but they also know and love western music. They sometimes add non-traditional instruments, old and new, like the guitar or accordion, and they draw upon their knowledge of complex rhythms and western harmonies to expand their musical possibilities.
The musicians are inspired by the music of their grandparents, great-grandparents, and the great musicians of Tuva and Central Asia. At the same time they are influenced by such western artists as Sun Ra and Jimi Hendrix. Yet the Alash musicians never sacrifice the integrity of their heritage in an effort to make their music more hip for an American audience. Rather they look for contemporary ideas that mesh well with the sound and feel of traditional Tuvan music.