Zipster and I traveled west to Western CT State Univ to see Alash in concert. This was the last concert of a 15 month tour of the US for the ensemble; we caught them at the beginning of the tour back in March 2006.
Much different tour and concert this time. In Ridgefield in 2006, they were escorted by Kongar-ool Ondar, their teacher and sensei. This time, the Alash ensemble stood on their own. Similarly, back in 2006 their concert was more educational, with much talk about the singing techniques, the instruments, the history. Much of that remained woven through the performance, but it was less structured, more flowy. This time, it was more about the music and performance.
I am glad to have seen them again (still breathtaking and transcendent) and glad to have had the experience of seeing them back in 2006 when they were new to this country and now 15 months later with a year of touring, and standing on their own as an ensemble.
And kudos to the CT Folklike Project and specifically to Judith Cook Tucker for bringing Alash to the area, and for just being there. I kind of smelled change in the wind, Judith made some comments about this perhaps being the last concert. Perhaps her time with this cause is winding down. If so (and change is good and natural), I hope she knows how delightfully her efforts have fruited - wish I were more local to Danbury / Ridgefield, the quality and diversity of music and art that the organization has sponsored and cultivated is incredible.