Alash Ensemble
Group Picture

Ethnic Music:
Pictured to the right: Mai-ool Sedip, Bady-Dorzhu Ondar, Ayan-ool Sam, Ayan Shirizhik (seated)
Where they live:
Tuva, Russia
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Huun Huur Tu

Alash at concert Photo by Sriram Bala
About Alash

Alash is a group of four Tuvan traditional throat singers from the Republic of Tuva in Russia.
The musicians of Alash are Nachyn Choodu, Bady-Dorzhu Ondar, Ayan-ool Sam, and Ayan Shirizhik. All were trained in traditional Tuvan music since childhood, first learning from their families and later becoming students of master throat singers.
Originally called Changy-Xaya, the group was formed at Kyzyl Arts College in 1999 and quickly became the resident traditional ensemble. At the same time, the young musicians were learning harmony, theory, staff notation and western classical music. They began to incorporate non-traditional elements and instruments that mesh well with the sound and feel of traditional Tuvan music. They use old instruments such as the murgu, limpi, and shoor (wind instruments) that are not frequently played in Tuva today, as well as distinctly western instruments such as the guitar and accordion.
The outgrowth of this musical exploration is the ensemble Alash, which is named for the Alash River that flows through the musicians' home region of Tuva. Kongar-ool Ondar is the artistic director, and he has played a key role in the development of the ensemble. Since its inception, Alash has undergone two personnel changes, as original members Sergei Sotpa and later Mai-ool Sedip have moved on, and Nachyn Choodu has joined the ensemble.
In 2004, Alash won first prize at the International Xöömei (throat singing) Symposium competition. In 2005, ensemble member Bady-Dorzhu Ondar was named the best male singer at the Üstüü-Xüree festival, and in 2006 he was named People's Xöömeizhi (throat singer) of the Republic of Tuva, the youngest person ever to receive this prestigious award. At the 2008 International Xöömei Symposium, Bady-Dorzhu Ondar won the grand prize, while Ayan-ool Sam and Ayan Shirizhik won first and second prizes for individual throat singing, and Nachyn Choodu won first prize as a duo with his wife Shonchalai Oorzhak-Choodu.
Alash toured the U.S.A. in 2006 at the invitation of the Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Their trip was organized by CEC ArtsLink, an organization that orchestrates cross-cultural arts exchanges and grants between the US and Central Europe, Russia, and EurAsia.
Alash toured the U.S.A. again in 2007 and 2008, playing at a variety of venues and receiving much press attention for their unique musical talents. They also conducted workshops at schools and colleges to share their music and culture with American young people.
In August 2007, the group performed for Russian President Vladimir Putin while he was vacationing in Tuva. [1]

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Music Samples

Two menbers of Alash Photo by Sriram Bala

Dyngyldai - Alash

Alash - Alash Ensemble

Bashtak Joke - Alash Ensemble