This is the last part, for now, about the music scene in Mongolia. This time I want to show what a variety of musical styles there are.
First is Nomin Talst (which I believe means “azure crystal”). They seem to have started as literally a boy band in around 1995 and are much loved. An Italian guy who married a Mongol girl started a fan page for them on Facebook. The first video is for what I think was their first hit “Bid”, which means “We”. At least it’s the first cut on their greatest hits CD. They score way high on energy and cuteness.
This next one came to me from a blog that I subscribe to, AsianGypsy. I still tear up when I watch it because it encapsulates so much of what I have come to love about Mongolia. It’s called “Minii Mongol Naadam”, which means “My Mongol Naadam”. “Naadam” means “festival” in the general sense, but specifically it’s the big national holiday. The main celebration takes place in Ulaanbaatar, but there are local versions all over the country. I got to do both this last July. You can see photos on my blog here and here. Naadam is centered around competitions in the Three Manly Sports – horse racing, wrestling and archery, all of which are represented in the video.
Here they are, all grown up.
Next is Altan Urag, which means “Golden Lineage (of Chinggis Khan). There are seven members. They are trained in both traditional instruments like the morin khuur (horsehead fiddle)and bishgur (traditional horn) and singing methods like throat singing and long song. The group has traveled to music festivals internationally and may be the musicians best known outside of Mongolia.
The next one is just the music with no video, but well worth a listen, of course.
Finally, one of the best traditional pop vocalists, Javkhan. I only recently found out about him and then realized how often I had heard him on my driver’s CDs or radios as I’ve traveled around Mongolia. He really ought to be a big international star like Julio Inglesias or Tom Jones. Jaw-dropping voice.
Finding this last video solved a mystery for me. I’d heard a particular song about once per trip, but could never find out what it was because I didn’t speak Mongolian and was never with someone who spoke English. I sort of memorized a couple of bars of the chorus and hummed it for a few people, but no luck. Then I saw this and the mystery was solved. Great visuals with old film footage, too. A short course in Mongol culture, complete with warriors on horseback. But it mostly seems to be tribute to Mongol women (busgui) from socialist times to the woman who won a Beijing Olympics shooting medal, plus teachers, nurses, and some gorgeous fashion models.
If you’re interested in more, visit the blog Mongolian Music.