Throat singing is unlike anything you've ever heard or seen performed live.
"People often ask us where our music comes from — 'Is it like Chinese, or Mongolian, or Russian, or what?'" say the members of throat-singing (xöömei) trio Alash through their interpreter and manager, Sean Quirk. Tuva lies at the "center of its own cultural sphere and has a great influence on musical culture in all directions," they explain.
An amalgamation of primal sounds and meditative, cosmic vibrations from multitextural Tuvan strings, it's the song and story of a nomadic people. Between Siberia and Mongolia, Tuva is diminutive republic with a rich history dominated by the likes of herdsmen, yurts and yaks.
Alash takes its name from a river that runs through the northwestern region and captures the rush and swirl of its waters in every song. The band says throat singing is just one beautiful facet of its world. "The traditions of Tuva are alive and growing," they say, citing Sun Ra and Jimi Hendrix as influences and part of the ever-evolving Tuvan sound. "Our program even includes a folk version of a Tuvan rock 'n' roll song."
Saturday: 12:45-1:30 p.m., 7:15-8:15 p.m., MWV Stage.
Sunday: 3:30-4:15 p.m., Union First Market Bank/University of Richmond Stage.