nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

Alash and Sun Ra Arkestra concert

I went to the concert last night, and I'm very glad I did.

Alash's music was instrumental as well as vocal--two bowed string instruments and one plucked, plus a largish drum (think of a small bass drum) played with the fingers. It seemed like a cross between Chinese (pentatonic), Irish (rhythmic drive), and French (sonorous), plus lots of hoofbeats--and the singing, which would seem like a special effect except that they were obviously doing it themselves. The tone is mostly cheerful--really cheerful. I'm listening to their second CD and smiling. Subudai (the one song they wrote as well as arranged) is very lyrical.

I pull out the booklet from the CD: the stringed instruments are Igil (two-stringed, bowed), Doshpuluur (three-stringed, plucked), and Byzaanchy (four-stringed, bowed). The drum is a Kengirge.

Most of the throat singing seemed more like an odd vocal technique--as if rocks could sing--rather than obviously multi-toned. They also did overtones. I thought overtones were limited to pinging sounds, but it was actually more like whistling.

I was considering walking out before the Arkestra got started--I have some bad memories of hearing them on tv when I was a kid. However, the offer of a jam session between the Arkestra and Alash made me stay, which turned out to be a good idea. While a little of the Arkestra's music did sound like a traffic jam, much of it wasn't that different from normal jazz, and some of it was a little odd but enjoyable and comprehensible. I have no idea whether my tastes have broadened (probably) or whether the Arkestra's music has become more mainstream (quite possible) or how much poor sound quality from that long ago tv made a difference.

Mostly, it seemed as though all those sounds had colors, but I couldn't see them, which was frustrating. I was able to relax enough to get some synesthesia going, and mostly got some alien-looking buildings (sorry, not remembered enough for further description), which isn't too surprising.

The jam at the end was wonderful.

Alash is currently touring the middle Atlantic states and New England.

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