Arts Blog: Throat Singing Attracts Crowd

March 18, 2009  

When I first heard that “Alash,” a Tuvan throat singing group from Central Asia, was coming to SMU, I thought instantly about “The Simpsons Movie” and Homer’s encounter with an Eskimo woman who initiates the throat singing. Of course, “The Simpsons Movie” was presented to be humorous, but throat singing is actually very beautiful and interesting.

The group Alash made a stop at SMU on March 18 before going to Austin for their appearance at the 2009 SXSW festival. I’m glad I did not miss this experience because it is indescribable.

The music was peaceful and reflected much on nature. The instruments were made of wood and emphasized the precense of nature in the Owen Arts Center lobby.

When the four men sang, it sounded as if the instrument took on a human-form. It was unreal and it seemed impossible. It sounded like whistling simultaneously from multiple throats, and it sounded painful. According to the group’s translator, it is not painful because the technique allows them to make multiple pitches simultaneously by relaxing the throat muscles.

Experiencing this interesting performance made me want to learn about other cultures, made me want to discover new music, and made me want to expand my horizon beyond the popular culture in the United States.

–Posted by Laura Vasquez

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