Throat-singing ensemble ÜLGER
(Khakassia / South-Siberia)
Ensemble Ülger comes from Khakassia, a country of endless steppe and taiga, at the foot of the Sayan-Altai Mountains in southern Siberia. The ensemble was formed in 1989 by young musicians who were dissatisfied with the existing Soviet music folklore, and it remained the leading ensemble for Khakas folk music and dance ever since.
Year after year, Ülger’s musicians remain involved in reinterpreting the old songs and instrumental tunes for a wider audience. Staying close to the age-old traditions in colour and tempo, the musicians search for an authentic sound by using diverse khay (Khakas throat-singing) styles and the whole range of traditional instruments: the chatkhan zither, khomys lute, yykh fiddle, khobrakh flute, pyrghy sucked wooden trumpet, and tüür shaman drum. The sonorous, energetic, and charming music is often complemented with amazing choreographies based on traditional Khakas dance practices. Always self-renewing, Ülger keeps creating vivid and stunning programs. A performance of Ülger always leaves a profound impression on the audience.
Ensemble Ülger participated in many festivals and competitions, both within Russia and abroad. They excelled in Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, and The Netherlands; in 2005 they took the Grand Prix price at the 3rd Sayan Ring Siberian World Music Festival; and since 2006 they frequent the South of France, most recently at the Russian Art Festival 2011 in Cannes.
Since 2003 ensemble Ülger works under the artistic direction of Kuchen Ayhayrkh San − an exceptionally gifted musician, virtuoso of throat-singing, and bright multi-instrumentalist.
Ülger means “Pleiades”, the winter stars that rise in early autumn and announce the long, dark, cold season. People believed the Pleiades to be the place of residence of powerful heavenly beings who decided upon one’s fate.
The Khakas people consist of several ethnic groups who understand each other. In the early Soviet period they were restructured as “Khakas”, but they call themselves “Tadar”. In the North of today’s Khakassia live the Khyzyl people, in the central part the Khaas people, and in the South the Saghai, Khoibal, and Piltîr people.
The Khakas people were known for their rich storytelling traditions, both in poetry with throat singing and an accompanying string instrument, and in unaccompanied prose. Besides storytelling, they had a wide range of ceremonial songs, wedding, lyric and improvised songs, dirges and laments, instrumental music and various kinds of ceremonial dance.
Members of the ensemble:
Kuchen Ayharkh Sayn (voice, khai, chatkhan, yykh)
Altyn Tan (topchy-khomys, khobyrah, voice)
Mirgen Irgit (voice, khobyrah, percussion, khai)
Tulber Pogechi (aghas-khomys, voice)
Albychak Sayn (voice, khai, yykh)
Lunic Ivanday (shamanic drums, syylas, voice, khai, timir-khomys, pyrghy)
Download photo of Ülger (jpg, RGB, 300 dpi, 5.2 MB)
See also: Festival Orient, Orient 2013, Orient 2011, Orient presents in 2010, Orient 2009, Orient presents in 2008, Orient 2007, Orient presents in 2006, Orient 2005, Festival archives Orient in Palmyra (Voices from the Stars Above the Desert), The Path to the Heart of Asia (CD recorded with featuring musicians of Orient 1992)
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Special thanks: EAS, Alar Metsson, Urmas Paet, Valdo Helmelaid, Signe Matteus, Hedi Palipea, Meliisa Marianne Palipea