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Smithsonian Folklife Festival: One World, Many Voices
June 26 - July 7, 2013
National Mall. Washington, DCSean Quirk is curator of the Tuvan delegation to the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC. Last August, Sean interviewed over 40 people, from whom eight Tuvan artists, craftsmen, musicians, and herders were chosen to represent Tuva at the festival. The theme is One World, Many Voices: Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage. Sean is honored to be working with another of the festival's curators, the renowned linguist K. David Harrison of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages.
Kyzyl, Tuva, Russian Federation.
Photo by Sean Quirk.
Fall 2013 Tour of the USA
time to be
Richmond Folk Festival
Downtown Richmond's historic riverfront
From 2nd to 7th St. and
From Byrd Street to the river
|* * * W A T C H F O R M O R E V E N U E S * * *|
February - April 2013
|Fire and ice ushered in the spring tour. First, customs officials at Boston's Logan Airport confiscated and burned Alash's duyuglar and xapchyk, two traditional Tuvan percussion instruments made from animal parts. Then the February 2013 blizzard assailed the Northeast, and the first three concerts were canceled. After that, things started to look up. Alash made their first appearance at Carnegie Hall, where they received two standing ovations. They traveled along the Atlantic Seaboard, through the Midwest, and into Texas, sometimes collaborating with bassist Garth Stevenson, singer Annie Lynch, and beatboxer Shodekeh. As always, they performed at schools, introducing American youngsters to Tuvan music and culture.|
March 12 - May 4, 2012
|After traveling through the West and Midwest, Alash wrapped up their spring tour with a lively concert in New York City that blended several music genres. They collaborated with bassist Garth Stevenson, singer Annie Lynch, and beatboxer Shodekeh. Representatives from Renova, who generously provided airfare for Alash, attended the concert.||
Alash at a farm in Nebraska. Photo by Brent Martin.
Concert in Kyzyl
December 18, 2011
|Alash performed a solo concert at the House of Cultural Works in, Kyzyl, the capital city of Tuva.|
October 1 - November 21, 2011
|During their fall US tour Alash traveled up and down the East Coast and west to Pennsylvania. Audiences were treated to songs from their new album, Buura, which was released at the very end of the spring tour. Their full schedule of concerts, workshops, radio and TV appearances included collaborations with members of the American band The Horse Flies and bassist Garth Stevenson.||
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC. Photo by David Aronson
March 23 - May 31, 2011
Moscow, UK, and the US
|Alash started their spring season with a concert at the American Center in Moscow. They then kicked-off the U.K. part of the tour by performing at a football match. Next, they went to the U.S., where they traveled through the Western and Midwestern states giving concerts and workshops, and performing at festivals. On the morning of May 15, they got an unpleasant surprise. Overnight their car had been broken into, and all their instruments were gone. (Read more and find out how to help). Fortunately, they were able to finish the tour using borrowed instruments. And by the end of the tour, their latest CD, Buura, was released.|
Holiday Tour with Béla Fleck & the Flecktones
November 30 - December 19, 2010
West Coast of Canada and the U.S.
|Alash toured the West Coast of Canada and the United States with Béla Fleck & the Flecktones to promote the Flecktone's CD Jingle All the Way, on which Alash appear as guest artists.|
7th Annual International Mystic Music Festival
September 25, 2010
Alash took part in the 7th Annual Mystic Music Festival in Konya, Turkey. The festival strives to introduce mystical music traditions of the world while promoting interaction and communication among various faiths by emphasizing mystic music. Read more.
Alash also performed in near-by Karaman at the invitiation of the Mayor.
February 23 - May 9, 2010
|Alash traveled through the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Texas giving concerts and conducting workshops at schools and colleges for almost three months. The Princeton Arts Council posted a video of their performance, and Abigail Mahnke of KOOP 91.7FM in Austin, Texas conducted an extensive interview with Sean Quirk about his life in Tuva for her show "Inner Views." To hear it, go to the "Inner Views" website and click on "April 7". The group ended its tour with a recording session in Nashville, Tennessee, as the city was recovering from the floods. The new CD is expected to be released in October.||
Arlington, Virginia. Photo by Stephen H. Goldstein.
December 2 - December 20, 2009
Photo by Timm Hertel, MyTallTripod@gmail.com
|Alash toured the Midwest and South with the legendary American band Béla Fleck & the Flecktones to promote the CD Jingle All the Way, which features Alash as guest artists. The reviewer for MichicganLive.com said, "With the four throats of Alash [throat singing] at once at the State Theatre, the result was stunning....Alash got a rousing standing ovation." Read the reviews in Kosmopolitan Online, Star Tribune, The Capital Times, Kalamazoo Gazette, and the Denver Post.|
July 17 - August 16, 2009
In the brief space of a month, Alash managed to pack quite a lot of excitement as it toured the United States from Vermont to Virginia. Highlights included appearances at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage (video), the Grassroots Festival (video), and the Lowell Folk Festival (video1 video2). Alash also continued its popular tradition of collaborating with friends from the Sun Ra Arkestra at the Rotunda in Philadelphia. In addition to numerous concerts in smaller venues and live shows on two public radio stations, Alash taught an intensive 3-day workshop in Tuvan music at the New England Conservatory in Boston, attended by students from as far away as California. Participants in the Roomful of Teeth project, who had studied with Ayan-ool Sam and Sean Quirk in June, came to meet and hear the entire ensemble play to a standing-room-only crowd at Barbès in Brooklyn. The audience was so enthusiastic, they demanded 15 minutes' worth of encores. The next day, Alash wrapped up the tour with a relaxed and informal concert at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors Art Sanctuary in Wappinger Falls, New York. (Photograph at right by Hildegard M. Grob.)
Roomful of Teeth Project
June 7-12 2009
Williamstown, Massachusetts USA
Ayan-ool Sam and Sean Quirk were among the international experts teaching new vocal techniques to Roomful of Teeth, a twelve voice ensemble that seeks to learn a wide a range of vocal techniques from different cultures and incorporate them into new vocal music. See a video of Ayan-ool with yodeler Kerry Christensen.
Mongolian International Xöömei Festival
May 8-10 2009
Alash traveled to Mongolia for the International Xöömei Festival in Ulaanbaantar. In this video, Ayan-ool Sam, Ayan Shirzhik, and Bady-Dorzhu Ondar perform "Men Tyva Men" (I am Tyvan) with Andrei Mongush, Igor Köshkendey, and Evgeniy Saryglar. Mongush learned the song from its original authors, people of Tuvan origin who live in Kobdo, Mongolia.
March 15 - April 23, 2009
Alash participated in South By Southwest 2009, the popular music festival held annually in Austin, Texas. They performed at several other venues in Texas before heading north to Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and Vermont. In Brooklyn, NY they jammed with the Sub-TURAN-ians, in Ithaca, NY they teamed up with the Evil City String Band, and at the University of Connecticut they were the inspiration for and main attraction at Tuva Day. Next, they traveled west to Wisconsin and Illinois where, in addition to concerts, they conducted workshops in schools and at International House at the University of Chicago. Music professors have been especially enthusiastic about Alash. Several concerts and workshops on this tour came about because a professor who attended a concert at another venue invited the group to his or her own university.
November 10 - December 22, 2008
|Alash presented concerts and school workshops in Texas, the Midwest, and the Northeast (see video of them visiting a kindergarten class), and they collaborated with their old friends the Extra Special Terrestrial Guests in Philadelphia. As usual, they played to full houses of enthralled fans. But the highlights of this tour were their joint appearances with Béla Fleck & the Flecktones to promote "Jingle All the Way," the new CD by the Flecktones that features Alash as guest artists. The Flecktones' audiences, most of whom were hearing Tuvan throat singing for the first time, went wild for Alash. After the performance at the Blue Note in New York City, three young men hugged Ayan-ool Sam and Nachyn Choodu and broke out in song "Shyngyrash, Shyngyrash," imitating Alash's unique rendition of Jingle Bells.||
Fairfield, Connecticut. Photo by Sam Anderson.
Fifth International Symposium "Xöömei - Cultural Phenomenon of the Peoples of Central Asia"
July 24 - July 28, 2008
This year, the Symposium is part of the "Year of Xöömei" activities. It includes a scientific conference, an international xöömei (khöömei) competition, master classes, and exhibitions and sales of Tuvan national instruments, national dress, and traditional food. Bady-Dorzhu Ondar received grand prize for throat singing and won a car. Ayan-ool Sam and Ayan Shirizhik took first and second prizes for throat singing. Nachyn Choodu and his wife took first prize for a duet performance. Watch videos of the performances. Read about it. See coverage from NTV (Russian). See coverage from Russia Today (shows Bady-Dorzhu winning the car). Read the article (English) "Tuva Preparing to Host Throat Singing Admirers from all over the World" from TuvaOnline.
July 15 - July 19, 2008
The Tenth Annual Üstüü-Xüree Festival of Live Music to raise funds for the reconstruction of the Üstüü-Khüree temple. Read more in English at TuvaOnline: "Tenth Üstüü-Khüree" and "Üstüü-Khüree to be rebuilt."
February 8, 2008
Alash performed at festivities in celebration of Shagaa, Tuvan New Year (based on the Lunar Calendar).
January 11 - February 2, 2008
In a whirlwind tour of the northeastern United States, Alash gave a concert or conducted a workshop (sometimes both) every day for 21 days straight. They played to packed houses in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, New Haven, Ithaca, New York, and Ellsworth, Maine. At the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Alash collaborated with a string quartet, playing music arranged by Ayana Samiyaevna Mongush, director of the Tuvan National Orchestra (read more). In Philadelphia, they once again joined forces with their old friends, the Extra Special Terrestrial Guests. At the New England Conservatory, they visited music theory classes and presented a superb lecture/performance. At Yale University, they were overwhelmed by the number of students who wanted to try throat singing. In Vermont, Maine, and New York, they shared their music and culture with elementary, middle and high school students. All in all, it was an extremely busy three weeks for Alash, who delighted an ever growing base of returning fans as well as newcomers to Tuvan music.
Concert for Putin
August 13, 2007
Alash, Chirgilchin, and Oktai were the featured performers at a private concert for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prince Albert II of Monaco. The two leaders, who were in Por-Bazhyn to see the archaeological excavation of the fortress, were treated to an evening of traditional Tuvan music, and Putin was quite amazed by the throat singing. Sean Quirk performed with Alash and even sang a solo in the kargyraa style! Afterwards, he chatted with the President.
July 24 - July 29, 2007
The 9th Ustuu-Khuree Festival of Live Music gets ready to receive musicians and public from all over Siberia and abroad. [Read more at TuvaOnline.]
April - June, 2007
Enthusiastic American fans were once again mesmorized by Alash's music. See and hear highlights on our media page. Alash traveled extensively, performing on the East Coast, in the Mid-West, South, and Texas. Along the way, Alash conducted workshops for schools and colleges - one principal in Texas reports that the children are trying to throat sing while walking through the halls. Alash also performed at charity events, and participated in music festivals. The image at left was made at the Make Music New York Festival.
The Russian Cultural Attaché, Nataly Batova, attended the performance in Washington, DC, which the Washington Post review describes as "utterly stunning." In DC, and at several other venues, Alash shared the stage with the American jazz band Extra Special Terrestrial Guests. The jam sessions with igil, doshpuluur, byzaanchy, kengirge, saxaphone, flute, trombone, bass, drums, and throat singing were absolutely amazing. During the tour, Alash also released their second CD, which, as Steve Sklar says in his review, "makes for a fine listening experience, indeed!"
November 15, 2006
Eurasian cultural center "Legenda", Moscow, Russia
All-Russia Competition of National Orchestras and Ensembles
Ulan-Ude, capital of the Republic of Buryatia, Russia
Alash musicians competed as members of the Tuvan National Orchestra. The Orchestra won the overall grand prize, as well as a special prize for the most original program. This year, for the first time, the competition was for "national" instruments, instead of "folk" or Russian instruments. The Orchestra's preformance qualifies them to compete in the finals in Moscow in 2008.
Workshops and Festival
Alash traveled to Poland for a series of workshops organzied by Polish musician Maria Pomianowska.
July - August, 2006
Alash participated in a Mongolian Festival celebrating the 800th anniversary of the beginning of the reign of Genghis Khan. (Read more at Tuva Online)
June 28 - July 4, 2006
Alash joined Huun Hur Tu, Chirgilchin, GenDos, Tyva, the Tuvan National Orchestra and others at this summer's Üstüü-Hüree Festival in Chadan, Tuva.
May 13, 2006
Kongar-ool Ondar hosted a xöömei festival in his home town of Iyme in the Dzun-Khem district of Tuva. The festival honored the famed singer and composer Maxim Dakpai, on what would have been his 85th birthday. (Read more at Tuva Online)
February and March, 2006
Alash played to sell-out crowds of enthusiastic fans when they toured the United States in February and March, 2006. Their visit was sponsored by the Open World Leadership Center (press release) at the Library of Congress with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was initially scheduled for three weeks of performances in New York, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. The group extended their stay and traveled half-way across the country giving concerts and workshops in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Illinois in addition to the original venues. CEC ArtsLink (press release) hosted the musicians during their stay in the U.S.
All-Russia Competition of Folk Orchestras and Ensembles
Alash musicians competed as members of the Tuvan National Orchestra. The Orchestra won one of the first prizes. In addition, Bady-Dorzhu Ondar received a special award for his unique vocal performance. (Read more at Tuva Online)
Articles about Alash's performances are on the media page