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Alash

Alash

Alash are masters of Tuvan throat singing (xöömei), a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. What distinguishes this gifted 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 is 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 new ideas 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 Open World 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. They appear as guest artists on Béla Fleck & the Flecktones’ holiday CD Jingle All the Way (2008), which won a Grammy. The Denver Post remarked, “As electrifying as the Flecktones’ performance was, the band were nearly upstaged by Alash Ensemble.” Alash also enjoys a longstanding musical partnership with the legendary Sun Ra Arkestra, and they have collaborated with musicians across the spectrum, from country to classical to beatboxing. Beyond performing, Alash has a passion for teaching and promoting understanding between cultures.

The members of Alash are:
Bady-Dorzhu Ondar: vocals, igil, guitar.
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, 2007. Grand prize, International Xöömei Symposium, 2008.

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

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

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

Links:

alashensemble.com
facebook.com/alashensemble
myspace.com/alashensemble/music/songs

Press:

"Sometimes you see a performance so singular, so extraordinary, that you know the experience is going to live with you forever. This was such a performance." ~ Behind the Scene Gloucestershire, UK

"It’s one of the most astonishing sounds a human body can produce." ~ Washington Post

"The Tuvans were astonishing in various styles of khöömei(throat singing), from frightening growls to otherworldly overtone whistles...Alash's many songs about ‘fast horses and pretty girls’were pleasingly punctuated by equine snorts and neighs from their horse-head fiddles. The result came close to magic..." ~ Songlines

"This was the most continuously enraptured audience I believe I have ever witnessed at Cafe Nine. You could see mouths open in awe, many wide smiles, and even a few teary eyes." ~ New Haven Independent

"Alash ... pretty much knocked everybody’s socks off, receiving a standing ovation after their final song." ~ Pegasus News, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX

"This is some of the most beautiful and haunting music I have heard. If you have not heard them, you have no idea how incredible they are." ~ Jeff Coffin of the Flecktones & Dave Matthews Band, (from JamBands interview)

"Sometimes you see a performance so singular, so extraordinary, that you know the experience is going to live with you forever. This was such a performance." ~ Behind the Scene Gloucestershire, UK

"There are plenty of recordings of Tuvan throat singing out there, but they can’t compare to witnessing such sonic magic in real time." ~ Washington Post

"If you want to experience music that can transport you to another dimension, lift you to new levels of consciousness, or otherwise blow your mind, then Alash is the ticket." ~ V.O.I.C.E.S (Various Organizations & Individuals Creating Exciting Spaces), Lancaster, PA

"It’s ... music that feels as if it traveled miles and ages to pulverize your heart." ~ CD review on Click Track (Washington Post pop music blog)

"When Alash Ensemble sings, the world listens." ~ Kalamazoo Gazette

Alash

 

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