Innovative Tuvan Throat Singers Alash Touring North America

The throat singing ensemble Alash is currently touring North America (see tour dates below). The tour started in April and continues until June 30, when they return to Tuva.

Alash’s music is firmly grounded in cultural and spiritual traditions of Tuva, a remote Russian Republic on the Siberian-Mongolian border, but incorporates newer sounds. "We like to play within the great range of expression that the tradition offers, finding areas where our knowledge of complex rhythms and western harmonies mesh well with the traditional sound and feel of Tuvan music,” says ensemble member Mai-ool Sedip.

The Alash ensemble is among the first of a new generation of Tuvan musicians who have matured in the musically fertile and adventurous post-communist period in Tuva, says Sedip.

We are inspired by the music of our grandparents, and their grandparents, and all the great Tuvan and Central Asian musicians of the post-Soviet era – Tuva Ensemble, Huun-Huur-Tu, Chirgilchin, Sarymai, Andrei Mongush and Alexander Sarzhat-ool,” notes Sedip. “We are also influenced by Sun Ra and Jimi Hendrix. We compose new songs, and arrange songs that we remember from childhood, such as "Saryglar."

The Alash Ensemble from Tuva in Inner Asia toured North America for the first time in Spring, 2006 through the Open World Leadership Program of the Library of Congress, performing and teaching on the East Coast and in the Midwest. The group released its first U.S. CD, “Alash Live at the Enchanted Garden,” featuring its sold-out performance at the Enchanted Garden in Ridgefield, CT on March 17, 2006.

During the summer of 2006, the group performed in a Mongolian festival in Taiwan honoring the 800th anniversary of Genghis Khan, traveled, performed and taught in Poland, and participated in Tuva’s well-known Üstüü-Hüree Festival in Chadaan. In September 2006, Alash’s members performed with the Tuvan National Folk Orchestra, which won the grand prize in the All-Russia Competition of National Orchestras and Ensembles in Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia.

The Alash Ensemble was founded in 1999 in the basement of the Kyzyl Arts College in Tuva’s capital city. The group, originally known as Changy-Xaya, became the resident traditional ensemble at the school.

The group learned more about traditional Tuvan music from the well-known master Xoomeizhi (throat singer) Kongar-ool Ondar, but they also began to learn about Western classical music and such concepts as harmony, theory and staff notation.

The members of Alash perform on traditional Tuvan instruments as well as hybrids of Tuvan instruments and violins and cellos. They find these Western instruments appealing, and have begun exploring the new sound worlds that have arisen from their unique, dual musical consciousness.

For more information, see
The members of the ensemble acknowledge the influence of many diverse sources – Tuvan and otherwise – in their work. Ondar has played a key role in the life of the ensemble since its early days as its artistic director, encouraging and guiding the group’s formation as an ensemble.

Members of Alash are:
Kongar-ool Ondar, artistic director;
Bady-Dorzhu Ondar — Vocals, igil, doshpuluur;
Ayan-ool Sam: guitar, vocals, doshpuluur, chanzy, igil:
Mai-ool Sedip — vocals, byzaanchy, limpi;
Ayan Shirizhik –vocals, murgu, shoor, kengirge, xapchyk, dunggur;
Sergei Sotpa –vocals, igil, shoor, limpi, xomus, instrument-maste;
Sean Quirk, interpreter and manager.

Remaining tour dates:

June 17
Brooklyn, NY
10:00 p.m.
No cover, donation appreciated
258 Wythe Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(Williamsburg section)

June 18
Philadelphia, PA
7:00 p.m.
The Rotunda
4014 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

June 19
Washington, DC
8:30 p.m.
(Doors open at 8:00 p.m.)
Warehouse Next Door
1021 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
Promoter: Scott Verrastro

June 21
New York, NY
Noon to 1:00 p.m.
Make Music NY
On the sidewalk outside
the Rubin Museum of Art
150 West 17th Street
New York, NY 10011

June 22
Danbury, CT
8:00 p.m. (doors open 7:30)
$10 at the door
White Hall
(Ives Auditorium)
Western CT State University, Midtown Campus
181 White St.
Danbury, CT 06810

June 23
New York, NY
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery
New York, NY 10012

June 24
New York, NY
private benefit
Bubble Lounge
228 West Broadway
New York, NY

June 25
Cambridge, MA
7:00 p.m.
Donation appreciated
Lily Pad
1353 Cambridge Street
(Inman Square)
Cambridge, MA 02139
Info: 617-782-5536

June 26
Boston, MA
7:00 p.m.
Donation appreciated
Cloud Place
647 Boylston St.
(Copley Square)
Boston MA 02116
Info: 617-782-5536

June 28
New York, NY
7:30 p.m.
Donation appreciated
Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Sq. South
(bet Thompson and Sullivan)
New York, NY 10012

Please do not call the church for information about the performance.

June 29
Nyack, NY
7:30 p.m.
$15 adults
$10 Children
(Fellowship of Reconciliation)
521 N. Broadway
Nyack, NY 10960

The CD is available by emailing Alash at Music samples are available at

Author: World Music Central News Department

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