Ayan-ool Sam was born in 1983 in the Erzin district of southern Tuva. When his parents noticed his interest in xöömei (Tuvan throat singing) they moved to the city of Kyzyl so that he could attend class with the master singer Kongar-ool. There he became Bady-Dorzhu Ondar’s classmate, and the two musicains have now shared the stage for 25 years as Alash Ensemble, alongside Ayan Shirizhik. Ayan-ool has won numerous competitions and was given the nickname “Golden Throat” by Bela Fleck during the two groups’ tours together. Ayan-ool was named People’s Xöömeizhi (throat singer) of the Republic of Tuva in 2016.