Alash Events

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International Contest: "Xöömei in the Center of Asia"

Dates: August 10-14, 2015

Location: Kyzyl, Republic of Tuva

Center for Development of Tuvan Traditional Culture and Crafts
7 Lenin Street, Kyzyl, Republic of Tuva

In the capital of Tuva, Kyzyl, in southern Siberia, the first international festival "Xöömei the Center of Asia" will take place August 10th to 14th, 2015. The four-day competition of throat singers from around the world will include more than 200 artists and bands from Russia, Spain, Italy, France, USA, Finland, Netherlands, Turkey, China and Japan. The festival and competition aim to develop and preserve the performance tradition of xöömei (throat singing) by discovering and supporting talented young performers, exchanging experiences, and elevating the professional level of xöömei performers.

In addition to the international participants, the festival will also include performances by Altai throat singer and kaichy (storyteller) Bolot Bayryshev, the all-female ethnic Yakut group of xomus players Ayarhaan, the Buryat State National Theatre of Song and Dance Baikal, the Khakassian folk ensemble Ulger, and more than 100 individual participants and 28 ensembles from Tuva itself. All contestants will compete in three categories: Traditional Solo, Traditional Ensemble, and Xöömei with a Modern Twist.

The festival program will include an ovaa consecration ceremony at the Aldyn-Bulak ethno-cultural complex, and competitions will be held at the Center of Tuvan Traditional Culture and Crafts and on the open stage near the geographical Center of Asia on the waterfront of Kyzyl. The award and closing ceremony of the festival will take place on August 13th at the Kok-ool Tuvan State Musical and Drama Theatre.

Tuvan throat singing (xöömei) has been practiced in Tuva since ancient times and is a unique part of the culture of its people. Many believe that there is no Tuvan boy who hasn't, at least once in his life, sung xöömei. All Tuvans, young and old, are familiar with basic styles of xöömei. Among the throat singing performers known in Tuva and far beyond its borders are the famous xöömeizhi Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, Kongar-ool Ondar, and the ensembles Huun Huur Tu, Tyva Kyzy, Alash, Chirgilchin and Yat-Kha.

The best performers of the art of throat singing in Tuva will be awarded the title "People's Xöömeizhi of the Republic of Tuva," a title currently held by only 13 singers.

The idea for this international competition was conceived by Sholban Kara-ool, President of the Tuvan Republic, who is himself a great fan of throat singing. He developed the idea late last year in a meeting with members of the group Alash. The year 2015 was declared the Year of Folk Traditions. "Xöömei in the Center of Asia" will be just one project among many that aim to preserve the identity and culture of the Tuvan people.

(Information from the Press Service of the Government of the Republic of Tuva)

Contestants will be provided with free accommodations and meals during the competition.

Awards will be presented by Sholban Kara-ool, Chairman of the Republic of Tuva.

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