Tuvan throat singing at the Telluride's Opera House Thursday at 6 p.m.

Tuvan throat singing at the Telluride's Opera House Thursday at 6 p.m.

 Rick Silverman, the former director of Mountainfilm in Telluride – the 33rd annual event starts next week, May 27 – really started something, when, in the mid-1990s, he showed a film by Adrian and Roko Belic. “Genghis Blue” is the heart-warming story of a Tuvan throat-singer Kongar-ol-Ondar and a blind San Franciscan bluesman, Paul Pena, who taught himself to throat sing, a popular form of entertainment in southern Siberia. In 2009, Mountainfilm’s current director, David Holbrooke, asked the brothers and the “Elvis of Tuva” to return to town for a program encore.

Tuvan throat singing and the people who create the unique sound became a popular form of entertainment around these parts. Now it’s the Sheridan Arts Foundation’s inning.


On Thursday, May 19, 6 p.m., the Sheridan Opera House welcomes Alash, a quartet of Tuvan throat singers.

Tuvan throat singing (xöömei) is a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. What distinguishes Alash from earlier generations of Tuvan throat singers is the subtle infusion of modern influences into their traditional music: complex harmonies, western instruments, and contemporary song
blend with an overall sound and spirit that is decidedly Tuvan.

Telluride Bluegrass regulars Béla Fleck & the Flecktones invited Alash to appear as guest artists on their holiday CD Jingle All the Way (2008). The album won a Grammy, and Alash toured with the Flecktones to promote the release.

“As electrifying as the Flecktones’ performance was, the band were nearly
upstaged by Alash Ensemble,” raved The Denver Post.

Alash also enjoys a longstanding musical partnership with the legendary jazz
band Sun Ra Arkestra. The group has even collaborated with classical musicians at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City.

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