Alash Ensemble of Tuva brings unique singing styles to Troy University

Sable Riley

Staff Writer

The award-winning Alash Ensemble of Tuva, masters of Tuvan throat singing, brought the sounds of its homeland to Claudia Crosby Theater on Tuesday night.

Tuvan throat singing is a vocal technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time.

The Tuesday night concert was open to the public.

Audrey Driver, a sophomore biomedical sciences major from Rose Hill, attended the concert.

“At first, I had no idea what to expect,” Driver said. “I thought the men would just be making noises with their throats, but turns out they were making actual music and the sounds they created were very unique.

“The overall experience gave me a deeper appreciation of differences in music and culture and was definitely worth attending.”

Members of the band, Bady-Dorzhu Ondar, Ayan-ool Sam and Ayan Shirzhik, have all won numerous international awards in Tuvan throat singing.

Their style of music is based on their traditional Tuvan musical heritage infused with Western elements. Alash members played a variety of Tuvan traditional instruments such as the igil, a two-stringed, teardrop-shaped instrument that is played like a cello.

The members of the band wore traditional Tuvan attire with long braided hair.

The Troy Arts Council brought Alash to Troy in an effort to educate students of all ages in Pike County and show them a different culture from a distant place.

“It would be a shame not to share this gift with our students,” said John Jinright, associate professor of music and member of Troy Arts Council. “I spent the last three days in area schools as Alash’s ‘roadie,’ and just watching the jaws drop in astonishment when they began to sing is confirmation that I made the right choice.

“At the last school today, Alash’s departure was delayed 20 minutes as children wanted autographs.  The group would not leave until every child had an opportunity to meet them and get an autograph.”

Sean Quirk, who studied music in Tuva for 12 years and is the present manager of Alash, travels with them to provide commentary in English.

“They had a great time visiting Goshen High and Pike County Elementary today and were especially impressed by the enthusiastic singing of the elementary students, though everyone at each school was having a good time,” Quirk said.

They draw inspiration for their songs from their homeland of Tuva, which is a federal subject of Russia. 

Quirk said that the band members really appreciated their experience in Troy, as “they are always happy to bring the music of their homeland to places that for them are far away and mysterious.”

To learn more about Alash, Tuva and Tuvan throat singing, students can visit

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