Arts and Entertainment

Tuvan singers will bring an otherworldly sound to Vashon

Chirgilchin’s music is rooted in the culture and traditions of the ensemble’s homeland.   - Courtesy photo
Chirgilchin’s music is rooted in the culture and traditions of the ensemble’s homeland.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

An ensemble of celebrated musicians from the steppes of Central Asia will perform in concert on Sunday at Open Space for Arts & Community.

The group, Chirgilchin, is one of the world’s leading throat-singing ensembles, known for their haunting renditions of ancient folk songs and mesmerizing accompaniment on handmade traditional instruments, including lutes, fiddles, bells, mouth harps and rattle drums.

Sunday’s concert marks a return to the Island for the group. They have played here in the past at concerts and school performances sponsored by Vashon Folkdancers and Vashon Park District.

Tuva, a remote Russian province located in southern Siberia, is known for having produced a vocal form in which one singer emits two or more sounds at the same time. These sounds include low bass notes, middle tones and flute-like top notes.

The form evolved over centuries, and was greatly informed by the spiritual beliefs of the people of Tuva, who have traditionally lived a nomadic, herding life that is intensely respectful to nature.

The Chirgilchin ensemble’s name comes from a Tuvan word that means both mirage and miracle. The group, recent champions of the Tuvan national throat-singing competition, includes Igor Koshkendey, Mongoun-ool Ondar, Aldar Tamdyn and Aidysmaa Koshkendey.

David Godsey, co-founder of Open Space, is excited about the concert.

“What an amazing group of musicians,” he said.

Chirgilchin will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 2, at Open Space for Arts & Community. Tickets, $14 for adults and $7 for children, are for sale at Books by the Way, and the door.

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