Alash – Throat Singers from Tuva

unique sounds from the earth, otherworldly, strange, and beautiful

Music at the Martin Hotel – Winnemucca
7:00 PM, Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The $15.00 tickets are on sale now at the Martin Hotel, Nature’s Corner, and Global Coffee. You can also buy them online at themartinhotel.com.

Alash home on the range in Tuva.
Track from their new record “Achai” : “Let’s Fatten the Livestock”

Alash is a trio of master throat singers (xöömeizhi) from Tuva, a tiny republic in the heart of Central Asia. The ancient art of throat singing (xöömei), a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time, developed among the nomadic herdsmen of this region. Alash remains grounded in this tradition while expanding its musical vocabulary with the subtle infusion of modern influences into their music.

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.” Since Alash’s first partnership with the legendary Sun Ra Arkestra, they have collaborated with musicians across the spectrum, from country to classical to jazz to beatboxing. Most recently, the jazz CD The Viridian Trio (2017) features Alash in a musical remembrance of the late Kongar-ool Ondar­­.

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

Alash has released four CDs of its own: Alash Live at the Enchanted Garden (2006), Alash (2007), Buura (2011), and Achai (2015, re-released on Smithsonian Folkways in 2017).