Visiting Artists

Alash Ensemble – Tuvan Throat Singers

Poster by HVB Design

Poster by HVB Design

The Williams College Department of Music presents Alash Ensemble in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, November 4. This free event is open to the public.

Alash Ensemble is comprised of masters of Tuvan throat singing, a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. Alash are deeply committed to traditional Tuvan music and culture. In addition to their vocal mastery the ensemble members also play traditional Tuvan instruments. Believing that traditional music must constantly evolve, the musicians subtly infuse their songs with western elements, creating their own unique style.

What does throat singing sound like? “Imagine a human bagpipe – a person who could sing a sustained low note while humming an eerie, whistle-like melody. For good measure, toss in a thrumming rhythm similar to that of a jaw harp, but produced vocally – by the same person, at the same time.” (Newsweek)

Where is Tuva? Tuva (sometimes spelled Tyva) sits at the southern edge of Siberia, with Mongolia to its south. Over the centuries, Tuva has been part of Chinese and Mongolian empires, and shares many cultural ties with Mongolia. In 1944 it became part of the USSR, and until the late physicist Richard Feynman drew attention to it, was largely unknown to westerners. Tuva is now a member of the Russian Federation.

Alash Ensemble appears at Williams as part of the Ernest Brown World Music Series that brings musicians from across the globe to share their musical talents with the Williams College community. The series is named for Professor Emeritus Ernest D. Brown, who taught at Williams from 1988 to 2011.