And now for something completely different.
We naturally get kind of wrapped up in Western music, so it’s easy to forget what else is out there. Alash are a very strong argument for North American audiences to take a chance on something new. Composed of three of the best throat singers in the world with incredible instrumental skill, this group performs music the average American concertgoer has simply never heard. The contrast is glorious.
Alash first toured the U.S in 2006 sponsored by the Open World Leadership program of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Arts. They are world-class musicians, integrating western influences such as Sun Ra and Jimi Hendrix. The group records and tours with Bela Fleck & The Flecktones on a semi-regular basis, further testifying to their immense talent.
If you’re perplexed by throat singing, don’t worry. Most people are! The technique allows the vocalist to spread out their voice into two, three, occasionally four different overtone pitches that can be controlled while the lowest pitch continues on a drone. The Tuvan tradition of throat singing goes back centuries. It sprang out of the Tuvans' connections to the natural world, so the various styles of throat singing correspond to sounds in nature. Also featured in their performances is a uniquely Tuvan instrument known as the igil, a bowed two stringed instrument similar to a cello.
Band manager and interpreter Sean Quirk makes sure to share the general mood of the lyrical elements to the audience. The naturally atmospheric and pure tonal tendencies of the music leaves the meaning of each song hard to guess for most audiences. We might think they were about space and the universe or something equally vague and cosmic. Quirk lets us know that most of these songs are about “good horses and beautiful women”. After all it’s nomadic folk music. The focus here is on the variation of tone, not chord structure or convoluted melody. The interplay of different throat singing styles, bowed and strummed instruments, and percussion create breathtaking textures all generated through acoustic means. That effects pedal you’ve always wanted? It’s not so much a pedal as it is Alash.
This is a very rare opportunity. Alash utilizes a branch of musical skill the West is generally unfamiliar with, and these are some of the finest proprietors of it. Be you a musician looking for some new creative input or a lover of music pure and simple, join us.
“After (every song), that audience erupted with applause almost more excitedly than they had for the Flecktones, each time breaking a spell with ecstatic, almost surprised, glee.” – Denver Post
This performance is sponsored by Christian Phillips Photography.
$20 in advance : Buy Online