Tag Archives: Alash

Artist Profiles: Alash

Alash at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro, 2017 – Photo by Angel Romero

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,” said ensemble member Mai-ool Sedip.

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. The group incorporates many seldom-played traditional Tuvan instruments such as the murgu, shoor and limpi (wind instruments) as well as the more common igil and dosh-puluur.

The members of the ensemble acknowledge the influence of many diverse sources – Tuvan and otherwise – in their work. Ondar 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. 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 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, Connecticut 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 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 throat-singing ensemble returned to North America in 2007.

Original members of Alash were: 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; and Sergei Sotpa –vocals, igil, shoor, limpi, xomus, instrument-master.

Kongar-ool Ondar died in 2013.

Discography:

Alash Live at the Enchanted Garden (2006)
Alash (2007)
Buura (2011)
Achai (2015/Smithsonian Folkways, 2017)

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Acclaimed Tuvan Throat Singing Ensemble Alash to Perform at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro

Alash

Renowned Tuvan throat singing ensemble Alash is set to perform this Thursday, February 16 at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, North Carolina.

Alash’s musicians are maestros of Tuvan throat singing (xöömei), an extraordinary technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. What differentiates this talented trio from earlier generations of Tuvan throat singers is the delicate addition of modern influences into their music.

Alash collaborated with American musicians Béla Fleck & the Flecktones and the jazz collective Sun Ra Arkestra.

Available recordings include Achai, Alash and Buura.

Tickets for this concert are $22. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit artscenterlive.org or call the Box Office at (919) 929-2787.

The ArtsCenter is located at 300-G E. Main Street in Carrboro.

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Artist Profiles: Bady-Dorzhu Ondar

Bady-Dorzhu Ondar – Photo by John O’Hara, Whitefish Bay Herald

Bady-Dorzhu Ondar was born in the village of Iyme. In May 2006, he was awarded Best in Competition among xoomei performers on the 85th birthday of the popular throat singer Maxim Dakpai. He was given a horse (a very valued award in Tuva) as grand prize.
In July 2005, Bady-Dorzhu Ondar won the Best Vocals category at the Ustuu-Huree Festival, and in September 2005 he was given a special award at the 4th All-Russia Festival of Folk Orchestras, dedicated to Kalinin and held at the Saratov Folk Arts Center.

Bady-Dorzhu Ondar’s career started early. At the age of eight, the young throat singer started to perform with his teacher, the distinguished xoomeizhi Kongar-ool Ondar. The teacher and student were guests on one of the most highly rated American TV late night programs, the David Letterman Show. Later, 9-year-old Bady-Dorzhu Ondar performed Tuvan throat singing on another popular show, hosted by popular comedian Chevy Chase.

In 1999 Bady-Dorzhu Ondar became one of the founders of The Alash Ensemble. The group was formed in the basement of the Kyzyl Arts College in Tuva’s capital city. Originally known as Changy-Xaya, Alash became the resident traditional ensemble at the school.

In December of 2007, Bady-Dorzhu Ondar (who was 23-years old) was awarded the title People’s Xoomeizhi of Tuva. The title People’s Xoomeizhi is an honor bestowed by the president of Tuva in recognition of a throat singer’s artistic accomplishment.

Discography:

Alash Live at the Enchanted Garden (2006)
Alash (2007)
Buura (2011)
Achai (2013)

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Two World Music Festivals Taking Place in China and South Korea

Two world music festivals, featuring over 80 international performances are taking place in China and South Korea. Chevrolet 2016 World Music Shanghai Festival started on September 24 and will run until October 9 in Shanghai, Foshan, Wuhan, and Chongqing.

The Jeju World Music Oreum Festival will take place October 7-10 in Jeju Island, South Korea.

The festivals are a partnership between World Culture Open and World Music Shanghai. The concerts are free and open to the public as part of the joint initiative.

We are happy to partner with World Music Shanghai – pioneering advocates of world music in China – to transcend borders with world music throughout East Asia,” said Kseniya Tsoy, Director of Network Relations at World Culture Open. “We hope the festivals will allow more and more people to connect with themselves and with one another, as music truly is humanity’s common language, connecting us beyond borders and spoken languages. Aesthetically beautiful and socially interactive, music is one of the most engaging and accessible ways to connect to our shared humanity, and such an amazing way to learn about new cultures.”

Some of the performers at the Jeju World Music Oreum Festival include MoT (South Korea), Arifa (Netherlands), Trio Kazanchis (Switzerland), Shanren (China), Dagadana (Poland), Lass (Poland), Teleferik (France), Adam Sullivan & The Trees (USA) and Ooberfuse (UK).

Headline photo: Tuvan ensemble Alash, one of the performers at Chevrolet 2016 World Music Shanghai Festival

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