Doors at 7:30 pm; Show at 8:00 pm
$20 Day of Show / $17 Advance
Globe-trotting Tuvan throat singing trio Alash returns to Berkeley’s Ashkenaz on Thursday, July 13, at 8 p.m. These award-winning masters of a vocal style where a singer gets multiple tones simultaneously while singing, also perform with an array of indigenous instruments.
As always, all ages are welcome at Ashkenaz world music community dance center, whose motto is “Think globally, dance locally,” and where vegetarian food, snacks and desserts are available, along with a full range of drinks from coffee to wine and beer on tap!
The Washington Post calls Alash “Utterly Stunning!” Alash is a trio of master throat singers (xöömeizhi) from Tuva, a tiny republic in the heart of Central Asia bordered by Mongolia and Siberia. The ancient art of throat singing where one vocalist produces multiple notes at the same time developed among the nomadic herdsmen of this region, and reached international attention through the touring of groups such as Huun-Huur-Tu and the award-winning film “Genghis Blues.” The sound of throat singing is unlike anything heard in Western music. As a Newsweek magazine article put it, "Imagine a human bagpipe -- a person who could sing a sustained low note while humming an eerie, whistle-like melody. For good measure, toss in a thrumming rhythm similar to that of a jaw harp, but produced vocally -- by the same person, at the same time."
Making its first appearance on our stage in six years, Alash (named after Tuva’s Alash River) remains committed to traditional Tuvan culture and music. At the same time, the three are fans of Western music. Believing that traditional music must constantly evolve, the musicians subtly infuse their songs with Western elements, creating their own style that is fresh, yet true to their Tuvan musical heritage.
The trio -- Bady-Dorzhu Ondar, Aayan-ool Sam and Ayan Shirizhik – sings and plays an array of traditional Tuvan instruments. The group will include songs from its latest CD, "Achai," which originally was self-produced by Alash. Smithsonian Folkways will issue it in the United States at the end of July.
The members of Alash grew up trained in throat singing, forming a group in 1999 as students at Kyzyl Arts College. Mentored by the late master throat singer Kongar-ol Ondar, they kept their traditions but added elements they loved, including the guitar and Bayan (Russian accordion). Making its first visit to the United States in 2006 (sponsored by the Library of Congress and NEA), the group began collaborating with musicians which so far have ranged from the Sun Ra Arkestra to Bela Fleck & the Fleck tones. In recent years the group has raked in nearly every music award Tuva offers, including for their participation in the Tuvan National Orchestra.