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Alash Ensemble Returns for Two Shows

The throat singing ensemble Alash will bring the unique music of the Central Asian Republic of Tuva to Ithaca this weekend. The group will be performing at the ABC Café and the Community School of Music and Art. The performances will include a question/answer session on Tuvan music, moderated by Sean Quirk, a Wisconsin native who travels with Alash as a translator.

Alash, which toured the United States in 2006 for the first time, has performed throughout Russia and Europe, adding new insights to the traditional “musical treasures” of Tuva. The music and musicians were featured in the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek online during the 2006 visit.

Throat singing, also called xoomei, is an unusual use of the voice as an instrument, with some similarities to overtone singing. By manipulating their vocal chords, xoomei singers can produce two distinct tones at the same time. In traditional Tuvan music, the singers often use their voices and instruments to create the sounds of their world — bird whistles, bubbling streams, cantering horses and howling wolves — producing a musical portrait of the remote, forested taiga and windswept steppes.

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.

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 ensemble member Mai-ool Sedip. “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 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 incorporates many seldom-played traditional Tuvan instruments such as the murgu, shoor and limbi (wind instruments) as well as the more common igil and doshpuluur.
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2) 01.05.2023: May Day

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4) 09.05.2023: Victory Day

5) 01.06.2023: Childrens defence Day

6) 06.06.2023: Russian Language Day - Pushkin's Day

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