Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas


  • Alash Ensemble: Tuvan Throat Singing
  • Performance
  • 3/26/2010
  • 19:00-20:00
  • Spooner Hall
  • Host: The Commons
Event Description
Join us for a one of a kind musical experience that The Washington Post has described as ’utterly stunning.’ The Alash Ensemble brings together four masters of Tuvan throat singing (xoomei), a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. A tiny republic in southern Siberia on the border with Mongolia, Tuva is a giant when it comes to the mastery of human voice. The ancient tradition of throat singing developed among the nomadic herdsmen of Central Asia. Passed down through the generations, it is now the subject of international fascination and has become Tuva’s best-known export.

The musicians of the Alash Ensemble were trained in traditional Tuvan music since childhood. But what distinguishes their work from earlier generations of Tuvan throat singers is the subtle infusion of modern influences into their traditional music. They are inspired by the music of their grandparents and the great Tuvan and Central Asian musicians, but also influenced by jazz and rock as they look for new ideas that mesh well with the sound and feel of traditional Tuvan 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.

Alash has collaborated with musicians of all stripes, from the avant-garde jazz Sun Ra Arkestra, to the classical Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center. They appeared as guest artists on a new album by Grammy winning Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. Yet, they remain deeply committed to their own ancestral heritage, winning multiple awards for traditional throat singing in international competitions, both as an ensemble and as individual musicians.
The members of Alash are:
Nachyn Choodu: vocals, byzaanchy, chadagan
Bady-Dorzhu Ondar: vocals, igil, doshpuluur, guitar
Ayan-ool Sam: vocals, doshpuluur, chanzy, igil, guitar
Ayan Shirizhik: vocals, kengirge, shyngyrash, murgu, xomus