photos taken by Charlie Reilly
Alash started their day in Richmond on February 12th 2024 with a visit with the students at Maggie Walker Governor’s School. Read about their session and see photos »
A few hours later the band checked in at In Your Ear Studios for sound check and preparation for their sold-out show. The audience was mesmerized by Alash’s performance. For 90 minutes the band, dressed in culturally-correct costumes, introduced the audience to their unique and other-worldly style of music. The audience sat respectfully silent during the performance and gave the band resounding applause after each song.
At the beginning of the second set their road manager gave the audience a quick snapshot into the history of both Tuvan culture and music. Many exclaimed after the show that it was better than they could have hoped for and appreciated the pristine acoustics of Studio A. It was a night to remember for all.
They wowed the crowds at the 2013 Richmond Folk Festival
ALASH are masters of Tuvan throat singing (xöömei), a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. What distinguishes this trio from earlier generations of Tuvan throat singers is the subtle infusion of modern influences into their traditional music. One can find complex harmonies, western instruments, and contemporary song forms in Alash’s music, but its overall sound and spirit remain decidedly Tuvan.
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.”
The musicians are inspired by the music of their grandparents, great-grandparents, and the great musicians of Tuva and Central Asia. At the same time they are influenced by such western artists as Sun Ra and Jimi Hendrix. Yet the Alash musicians never sacrifice the integrity of their heritage in an effort to make their music more hip for an American audience. Rather they look for contemporary ideas that mesh well with the sound and feel of traditional Tuvan music.
Beyond performing, Alash has a passion for teaching and promoting understanding among cultures. Their tours often include workshops in which they introduce Tuvan music to students in primary, middle and high schools, colleges, universities, and music conservatories. Children as young as 8 and 9 have learned to throat-sing. One inspired student exclaimed, “Alash opened my eyes to a whole new world!”
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Nicole Renee Photography
1813 E Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23223