Alash Ensemble Brings Tuvan Throat
Singing to Gettysburg
Friday, July 31 at 7:30pm in the Gettysburg Seminary Chapel, Music, Gettysburg!’s special guest Alash Ensemble will be singing a new song, literally.
The quartet of master throat singers hails from Tuva, a tiny republic at the southern edge of Siberia. It isn’t easy to describe what throat singing sounds like, but a Newsweek quote from March 17, 2006 comes close: "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."
The ancient art of throat singing (xöömei) is a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. It developed among the nomadic herdsmen of the region. Alash remains deeply committed to traditional Tuvan music and
culture while expanding its musical vocabulary with new ideas from the West. Members Nachyn Choodu, Bady-Dorzhu Ondar, Ayan-ool Sam and Ayan Shirizhik also play traditional Tuvian instruments. Sean Quirk is the manager, producer and interpreter for Alash. His passion for Tuvan music developed after hearing a Huun-Huur-Tu CD while he was a student
at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Quirk and the other members of Alash are also members of the Tuvan National Orchestra.
Tuva has been part of Chinese and Mongolian empires, and shares many cultural ties with Mongolia. It is now a member of the Russian Federation.
Alash will appear in Gettysburg between performances at Lincoln Center in New York, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The group has been featured on National Public Radio’s "Soundcheck," and has performed at many different venues, ranging from the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival to the University of Chicago to a
private concert for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prince Albert II of Monaco alongside the groups Chirgilchin and Oktai. Alash members were guest artists on a CD which won a 2009 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album at the 51st Grammy Awards ceremonies in Los Angeles on February 7. The album, Jingle All the Way, presents American
holiday music in imaginative arrangements by the celebrated American band Béla Fleck & the Flecktones. Alash was invited by the Flecktones to collaborate on this CD while touring the US in 2007. The music includes the traditional Tuvan song "Dyngyldai,"
performed in combination with the English Christmas carol "What Child Is This," and a khoomei version of the American classic "Jingle Bells." To learn more about Tuva and the Alash Ensemble, visit http://www.alashensemble.com/index.htm .
The concert is free and open to the public.
Music, Gettysburg! is a premier free concert series featuring the finest regional, national and international musicians hosted by the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. The Seminary Chapel, the Church of the Abiding Presence, is located at 147 Seminary Ridge on the west edge of Gettysburg. For more information
about this and other concerts remaining in the Music, Gettysburg! schedule, please call 717-334-6286 ext. 2197 or visit the web site at www.musicgettysburg.org .
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