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music series - ALASH ENSEMBLE - 01/28/2024 at 7:00 pm


ALASH are masters of Tuvan throat singing (xöömei), a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. What distinguishes this trio from earlier generations of Tuvan throat singers is the subtle infusion of modern influences into their traditional music. One can find complex harmonies, western instruments, and contemporary song forms in Alash’s music, but its overall sound and spirit remain decidedly Tuvan.

Trained in traditional Tuvan music since childhood, the Alash musicians studied at Kyzyl Arts College just as Tuva was beginning to open up to the West. They formed a traditional ensemble and won multiple awards for traditional throat singing in international xöömei competitions, both as an ensemble and as individuals. At the same time, they paid close attention to new trends coming out of the West. They have borrowed newideas that mesh well with the sound and feel of traditional Tuvan music, but they have never sacrificed the integrity of their own heritage in an effort to make their music more hip.

Alash first toured the U.S. under the sponsorship of the OpenWorld Leadership program of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Arts. Since then they have returned many times, to the delight of American audiences. The Washington Post described their music as “utterly stunning,” quipping that after the performance“audience members picked their jaws up off the floor.”

Alash enjoys collaborating with musicians of all stripes. Since their early partnership with the legendary Sun Ra Arkestra, they have joined forces with musicians across the spectrum—from country to classical to jazz to beatboxing. Alash appeared as guest artists on Béla Fleck & the Flecktones’ Grammy-winning holiday CD Jingle All the Way (2008). They joined Chicago’s innovative Fifth House Ensemble in a groundbreaking concert series called Sonic Meditations, and later were part of a “global jam band” which recorded the soundtrack for the video game The Pathless. Most recently, Bady-Dorzhu Ondar teamed up with beatboxer Shodekeh in a live recording of original Tuvan songs filtered through the creative artistry of hip hop musicians.

Beyond performing, Alash has a passion for teaching and promoting understanding between cultures. Their tours often include workshops in which they introduce Tuvan music to students in primary, middle and high schools, colleges, universities, and music conservatories. Children as young as 8 and 9 have learned to throat-sing. One inspired student exclaimed, “Alash opened my eyes to a whole new world!”

Alash albums: Alash Live at the Enchanted Garden (2006), Alash (2007), Buura (2011), Achai (2015, re-released on Smithsonian Folkways in 2017), Meni Mana (2020), Embodiments by Bady-Dorzhu Ondar with Shodekeh and hip hop artists (2022).

Members of Alash:

Bady-Dorzhu Ondar: vocals, igil, guitar, bayan (accordion). Kyzyl Arts College, East Siberia State Academy of Culture and Art. Best soloist, 2005 All-Russian Festival of traditional ensembles and orchestras. Best in Maxim Dakpai xöömei competition, 2006. Named People’s Xöömeizhi of Tuva, 2007. Grand prize, International Xöömei Symposium, 2008.

Ayan-ool Sam: vocals, doshpuluur, igil, xomus. Republic School of the Arts, Kyzyl Arts College, Moscow State Pedagogical University. First prize, International Xöömei Symposium, 2008. Named People’s Xöömeizhi of Tuva, 2015.

Ayan Shirizhik: vocals, kengirge, shyngyrash, shoor, xomus. Kyzyl Arts College, East Siberia State Academy of Culture and Art. Second prize, International Xöömei Symposium, 2008. Distinguished Artist of Tuva, 2009. Named People’s Xöömeizhi of Tuva, 2021.

Sean Quirk: manager, interpreter. Studied music in Tuva on Fulbright fellowship. Named Distinguished Artist of Tuva, 2008.

Doors open 30 minutes prior to showtime. This show is All Ages

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