Soriah, which translates as “Milky Way” from Sufi, is the stage persona for the internationally recognized artist, Enrique Ugalde. Soriah’s craft is a blending of traditional Khöömei (Tuvan Throat Singing), tempered with Soriah’s own visceral force. Performances vary from being steeped in tradition and bound to its constructs to more experimental fascinations with electronic and acoustic accompaniments, and introducing Butoh and Ritual Performance Art. Soriah’s use of Khöömei as a transportive medium is an offering to nature in her own tongue, that of organic sound whether it be wind, water or the mimicry of animals.
Soriah takes an annual sabbatical to the Central Asian Republic of Tuva to study with various masters and to compete. He has also worked as a studio engineer for the Tuvan National Cultural Center recording such groups as Chirgilchin, Alash, Ugulza, Ensemble Tuva and the Tuvan National Orchestra. The 2008 Fifth Quinquennial Ethnomusicology Symposium, “Khöömei: The Cultural Phenomenon of Central Asia”, has honored Enrique Ugalde, “Third Place”, the highest a non-native to Tuva has yet placed. He won 2nd place in the 2014 Tuvan Republican Kargyraa Festival. The Üstüü-Khüree Festival awarded him “Best Foreigner” for their 2008 selection. The rest of the year Soriah travels the globe with extended tours performing in various cities and enclaves of Japan, crooning in the cathedrals and ruins of Mexico, intoning in ocean caves and amidst the swamplands of America and fringe cultural music festivals and universities in Europe. The artist has been invited to perform at society events such as The 2009 Peace Ball in Washington, D.C. for Obama’s inauguration, and by brigand artist elites, to sing at various installations of note at the Burning Man Festival.
As much as the complex musical underpinnings of Soriah’s music reach back to Central Asia, he traces his roots back to his father’s homeland of Mexico. His explorations of the cities and wilderness of Mexico and considerable research into the Aztec mysteries, as well as the
present-day animism of Tuvan Shamanism, have deeply influenced his
Through costume, movement and meditation Soriah evokes an otherworld of profound mystical import. Though the settings for his performances have ranged from arenas, concert halls and churches, to swamps, caves, tree tops and even an abandoned nuclear reactor, his project carries its own sense of place and time, which transcend the concrete world.
One becomes encased in an awe-laced ceremonial pallor while in attendance at a Soriah performance. A deep spiritualism imbues each piece performed, whether entirely traditional or exhibiting a fusion of music, movement and meditation that Soriah describes as Vocalized Ritual Drone.
The recorded works of Soriah are chiefly available from Projekt and Beta-Lactam Ring Records; along with compilation appearances on URCK’s
“Post-Asiatic” series, Sonick Sorcery’s “Visions From The Garden”, and
Mobilization’s “How To Destroy the Universe Part 5”.
Credits also include live and recorded guest appearances with Modest Mouse, Download, David J, Lustmord, Dead Voices on Air, The Dandy Warhols, Blixa Bargeld, Perry Ferrel, The Legendary Pink Dots, Jarboe, Master Tuvan Throat Singers Chirgilchin, Huun Huur Tu, Psychic TV, The Church, Chrome, GWAR, The Polyphonic Spree, and The Dresden Dolls, as well many other local and international acts.