Posts Tagged ‘Tuva’

alash in burlington

August 15, 2009

2009-AUG14-AlashAlash came to the Flynn Space last night with their full lineup of horsehead fiddles, large frame drums, and – those ethereal voices. You may remember reading about them here when I went to see their show in Bennington last April.

This is the Central Asian group whose sound is defined by the special style of throat-singing that’s native to the windy plains and snow-capped mountains of Tuva. They’re great musicians, individually but especially ensemble, as the voices and instruments weave tightly into a single complex thread of sound.

A couple of recommendations for listening – you won’t be disappointed! This is such adventurous, satisfyingly rich music. You don’t have to know anything about the music’s history to enjoy the purity of songs about simple pleasures like horses, wide river valleys, sunsets, and good friends…you know. The important things in life.

Alash: Alash, 2007

Chirgil Chin on YouTube

playlist #74 (6/8/2009)-New season, new artists, new music

June 15, 2009
World of Music
Pgm #74 – 6/8/09 – Previewing artist coming to the area &  featuring new world music.
Listen online Mondays 3-5pm EDT at The Radiator
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix / (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
Calima: Gatito Perdido (Lost Kitten) / Azul / ColoRecords 94877 – (SPAIN)
Ojos de Brujos: Ventilaor R-80 / Bari / La Fabrica de Colores 1 – (SPAIN)
The Paragons: The Tide is High / Treasure Isle-Rock Steady / Heartbeat 95 – (JAMAICA)
Nikki Giovanni: Poem For a Lady Whose Voice I Like (dedicated to Nina Simone) / The Way I Feel / Collectables 6507 – (USA)
Trio Braam de Joode Vatcher: Songs Each Night / Change This Song / VPRO 2005 – (NETHERLANDS) * At the Discover Jazz Festival (Flynn Space) on Thu. 6/11, at 8:30pm: … atcher.php *
Jennifer Hartswick: That’s All / TRUE / Rubber Jungle Records 7 – (MADE IN VERMONT) * At the Discover Jazz Festival (Flynn Space) on Thu. 6/14, at 7:00pm: … tswick.php *
James & Troy Andrews: Bourbon Street Parade / New Orleans Brass / Putumayo 270 – (N’AWLINS) * Get a boogie on at the Waterfront Bayou Funk Tent, Thu. 6/11: BBQ at 5, music at  6: … stoltz.php *
Félix Balloy: El mal de la hipocresía / Baila Mi Son / Tumi 100 – (CUBA)
Timbalada: Ashansu Serviço de Animação Popular / Vale Music 376 – (BRAZIL)
Umalali: Nibari / Hear Globally / Cumbancha 2009 – (BELIZE) *NEW ANTHOLOGY *
Will Patton Ensemble: Valse 29 / 6th St. Runaround / King’s Hill Music 2008 – (MADE IN VERMONT)
El Tanbura: I Saw The Moon / Between the Desert and the Sea / World Village 450002 – (EGYPT) *NEW*
Paul Metzger, modified banjo: Improvisation #3 / Three Improvisations on Modified Banjo / 2005
Mo’ Horizons: Pé ne éstrada (Hit the Road Jack) / Brazil Remixed / Groove Gravy 1102 – (BRAZIL)
Kobo Town: Trinity / Independence / Kobo 1 – (TRINIDAD)
Miles From India: So What / Miles From India / Times Square Records 1808 – (INDIA/USA)  ==
Ismaël Lô: Dibi Dibi Rek / The Balladeer-The Best Of / Wrass 31 – (SENEGAL)
Pink Martini: Andalucia / Sympathique / Heinz Records 1 – (USA) * At the Discover Jazz Festival (Flynn Space) on Sat. 6/13, at 8:00pm: … artini.php *
Gilberto Gil: Metáfora / Gil Luminoso / drg brazil 31618 – (BRAZIL)
Le Vent du Nord: Le berger (the Villager) / Dans Les Airs / Borealis 189 – (QUÉBEC)
Alash: Bashtak-la Deesh Meni Kanchaar? (Trad. Tuvan folksong) / Alash / 2008 – (TUVA)
Gertrudis: Intro oye-Oye-Les Czardas de Monti / 500 (recorded live) / Mass Records 72509 – (SPAIN) *NEW*

Tuva and beyond

April 5, 2009


Sunday morning here, watching the melting spring snow fall off the trees in heavy clumps. Listening to new music and getting ready for tomorrow’s World of Music show on the Radiator…we’ll check out ‘Alash’ – the Tuvan throat singers who came to Bennington last weekend. A new recording from World Village takes us on a journey with the Basque group Oreka Tx, they went to Mongolia with traditional Spanish percussion instruments and played with native musicians to amazing effect.2009-apr6-alash2

We’ll get into some vintage Gil Gilberto (circa 1971 when he was channeling Cream, and Traffic) and listen to new releases by Cuba’s Omara Portuondo, Somali hip-hopper K’Naan, and the godfather of Jamaican dub, Lee “Scratch” Perry.

Listen to “World of Music” online (tomorrow, 3-5pm) or at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT.

Alash: a band and a river

March 30, 2009

Hmmm…how to spend a rainy night during mud season, in Bennington,VT? Let’s see…maybe we should start with an exotic concert of exciting Mongolian music, and then move on to an after-hours toga party with the whole town getting in on the gladiator fun. Throw in a pomegranate margarita, an enthusiastic audience and a lot of inspiring visual art, and I’d call it just right!

I came to Bennington to see the night’s headliners at the Basement Music series, the program sponsored and hosted by the Vermont Arts Exchange. (Now, trying to leave yesterday – that was a whole different story. Stay tuned.)

2009-mar28-alashinbennington013On Saturday night the VAE welcomed Alash, a popular quartet of musicians from Tuva. The concert marked their return to the venue (many times over) with evocative-sounding instruments like the byzaanchy, the igil (or ‘horse head fiddle’), and the banjo-like doshpuluur.

But with this kind of music the real draw for the audience is always the singing. In the native Tuvan language the style is described as xöömej (“hoo-MAY”), or in English, throat singing. If you’ve never heard this kind of singing the only way to describe it is to think of the low, multi-toned sound of a digeridoo – or cicadas in the trees on a warm summer evening. Now conjure up the fragrance of a handful of fresh garden dirt, and add to that the earthy texture and taste of red beets.

Throat singing sounds like the combined effect of all of those deeply visceral sensory experiences.

It feels like it too. As a listener throat singing can physically resonate in your own body, with the overtones it produces allowing you to “hear” sounds that aren’t even actively being created.

In the 1990s when San Francisco musician Paul Pena heard throat singing for the first time, he taught himself how to do it. Pena wove the singing into his blues, and the seamless result gives new dimension to the description “roots music”. Pena’s whole remarkable journey, both as a musician and as a traveler, is documented in Genghis Blues. It’s largely thanks to that film that people around the world came to know about Tuvan throat singing.

Fortunately throat singing is no longer only heard by the nomadic people who live in the windswept Tuvan wedge of land between Mongolia and Siberia.

I liked learning that “Alash” means ‘river’. There is a fluidity to throat singing that is boundless: in time, in style, and in its inspirational capacity to move the spirit.

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