The HU: Our music has a lot of deep messages and scores of our fans don’t understand what we’re singing

In November you received The Order of Genghis Khan for promoting Mongolian culture around the world, was that something you set out do deliberately with The HU?

Yes, we started out just sharing our culture, the world and our history. We sing about all the positive things our ancestors brought to this world. For example, The Gereg was the first diplomatic passport introduced to the world by our ancestors and so we decided to name our album The Gereg so that this album becomes our diplomatic passport to the world, where we can travel freely and share our music.

Mongolia was under communist rule till 1992, how much has the country’s music scene changed since then?

Democracy gave us the freedom of choosing to listen to whichever bands you want to, but even before that, under the communist regime our parents and the older generation would secretly listen to the Beatles and other Western artists. After the change, all genres of music and bands started performing all around the country – everything was out in the open.
Throat singing layers different sounds and mimics nature, can you talk us through the learning process?

I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I’ve taught so many people, including kids. The first thing that anybody has to learn is to understand what throat singing is, how it started, why it’s there and who does it. First you’ve got to find somebody that makes this beautiful noise so you can copy it. Then visualise it in your mind, this understanding and picturing it in your mind is 50 percent of the work. And of course, it takes many years of hard work and dedication. It takes the average person about a year to make the first sound and to be able to visualise and make double notes.

Are you thinking of different natural things when you’re making different sounds, for example, is there a specific sound for a waterfall?

Any music or instrument, when you play, you’ve got to have some kind of visual adjacent. You have to know what you’re trying to deliver to the audience. When you see it, you can picture this high mountain with clouds overhead and when you combine your heart with your sound, that’s where real music starts. It’s now alive, you know, it’s not just empty notes. The most important thing in music is having this life essence.
The traditional Mongolian instruments that you use lend a heavy folk element to your style. Have you been embraced by the folk music world, as well as the metal community?

Traditional music playing wasn’t a very popular thing back in the day, but now every young kid wants to play these instruments. Even professionals are waking up now and they’re trying something different. Even in the way we play, because the Morin Khuur is designed to be played in sitting position. We got these straps and we’re playing it standing, and now there are so many other professionals doing this, just within the last year – it’s popping off!

People feel like they can be more creative?

Yeah, it’s not that they have to stay within the rigid traditional structure – I want to note something, we didn’t just invent something new. There were steps taken before by other artists experimenting with different sounds. We’re building upon what our ancestors built upon. There are generations of people and musicians paving the road. It’s like teamwork, everyone from all around the world working together.
You sing in Mongolian, though you have millions of fans around the globe. In what other ways do you convey the messages behind your music, besides the lyrics?

Our music has a lot of deep messages and scores of our fans don’t understand what we’re singing, but music is a universal language. It transcends any existing language, because music has feeling. Human beings can connect through feelings more. If it comes from our heart, the message can travel. Our message is about the importance of respecting and loving our ancestors, parents, respecting women and protecting nature. Through our music, we want to wake up the inner warriors that everyone has inside, so that we can get strong and unite together to stand against injustice in the world and to take care of this world.

Mongolians are traditionally a nomadic people, with 30% of the population still living a nomadic existence. In recent years, the younger generation are moving more and more away from a nomadic lifestyle and into cities. It’s happening all over the world. Do you think it’s important for people to continue living a nomadic lifestyle?

We have to keep old cultures and the nomadic lifestyle safe. Progressive thinking and technology in the city is good, but keeping old cultures and being close to nature is more important than technology. As human beings, we are part of this earth and when we are close to nature everything is better, because we’re living in this world. There are so many other cultures all around the world, these differences make us beautiful in our own way, so everybody should keep their culture and be proud of it.

In the last year, you’ve spent a large portion of your time tour, away from Mongolia. With the idea of home being important in your music, has it been unusual being away from your home for so long? And have you collected any new musical influences on your travels that we might hear on future records?

Being on tour isn’t easy; months and months away from our families, but we’ve got something. We’re on a mission and we’re willing to pay our dues and keep working. We’re travelling around the world seeing so many cultures and music, but our style is based on Mongolian traditional music – we want to dig in as much as possible into the bones of that and go back thousands of years.

Source: nitelineonline

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