They use old instruments such as the murgu, shoor, and limpi (wind instruments) that are not frequently played in Tuva today, as well as distinctly western instruments such as the guitar and accordion. The outgrowth of this musical exploration is the ensemble Alash, which is named for the Alash River that flows through the musicians' home region of Tuva. Kongar-ool Ondar is the artistic director, and he has played a key role in the development of the ensemble. In 2004, Alash won first prize at the International "Xoomei" (throat singing) Symposium" competition. In 2005, ensemble member Bady-Dorzhu Ondar was named the best male singer at the Ustuu-Khuree festival. In 2007, Alash member Bady-Dorzhu Ondar was named People's Xöömeizhi (throat singer) of the Republic of Tuva, the youngest person ever to receive this prestigious award.
At the 2008 International Xöömei Symposium, three Alash musicians swept the top prizes for individual throat singing, and the fourth took top honors for his duet performance with his wife. Alash toured the U.S.A. in 2006 at the invitation of the Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. They have returned to the US in 2007 and 2008, performing and giving workshops.
They have collaborated with such diverse groups as the innovative jazz ensemble Sun Ra Arkestra, the bluegrass/fusion/jazz band Béla Fleck and Flecktones, and the classical Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's Student Producers Program. They are guest artists on the holiday CD "Jingle All the Way" by Béla Fleck and Flecktones, released in the fall of 2008. Sean Quirk, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA), is the group's manager, producer, and interpreter. Quirk and the other members of Alash are also members of the Tuvan National Orchestra. Read more on Last.fm.
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