ALASH are masters of Tuvan throat singing (xöömei), a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. What distinguishes this gifted trio from earlier generations of Tuvan throat singers is the subtle infusion of modern influences into their traditional music. One can find complex harmonies, western instruments, and contemporary song forms in Alash’s music, but its overall sound and spirit is decidedly Tuvan.
Trained in traditional Tuvan music since childhood, the Alash musicians studied at Kyzyl Arts College just as Tuva was beginning to open up to the West. They formed a traditional ensemble and won multiple awards for traditional throat singing in international xöömei competitions, both as an ensemble and as individuals. At the same time, they paid close attention to new trends coming out of the West. They have borrowed new ideas that mesh well with the sound and feel of traditional Tuvan music, but they have never sacrificed the integrity of their own heritage in an effort to make their music more hip.
To this end, Alash love to perform with their friend, Shodekeh - a professional beat boxer and vocal percussionist who has been performing and honing his craft since age nine. By channeling the aural concepts of various instruments and soundscapes, Shodekeh is able to vocalize the many dynamic emulations of everything from drum sets, synthesizers, turntables, congas, horns and bass guitars to ocean waves, sleigh bells, crickets and helicopters. His keen musical ability and adaptability have enabled him to collaborate with artists across many genres (including music, dance, visual art), from different cultural traditions, and in an array of creative settings. Shodekeh is the founding director of “Embody, A Music Series of the Vocal Arts,” which strives for artistic and cultural unity through the many vocal traditions from the world from opera, throat singing, to beat boxing, and currently serves as faculty/musical accompanist at Towson University’s Department of Dance and at Duke University’s American Dance Festival.