Closeup of someone playing a traditional 4 stringed guitar
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Mongolian Punk

I really appreciate both music that is culturally specific as well as music that crosses cultures. I recently found this music on Youtube. Most of what I’ve listed to is from one band,Hanggai, but there’s quite a bit of it on Youtube. I’ll let Wikipedia tell you more about the band.

Hanggai Band (杭盖乐队) is an Inner Mongolian folk music group from Beijing who specialize in a blend of Mongolian folk music and more modern styles such as punk rock. Their songs incorporate traditional folk lyrics as well as original composition, and are sung in Mongolian and Mandarin.

All of the members hail from Inner Mongolia and Beijing.

The term “Hanggai” itself is a Mongolian word referring to an idealized natural landscape of sprawling grasslands, mountains, rivers, trees, and blue skies. The band was created when leader Ilchi, captivated by the sound of throat singing and wanting to rediscover his ethnic heritage, travelled to Inner Mongolia to learn the art. It was there that he met fellow band members Hugejiltu and Bagen. In an interview with NPR Ilchi stated that, “Most of our people have moved away from the old way of life…After moving to the cities, many of us have gradually been subjected to a very strong cultural invasion by an oppressive culture. So this traditional music has completely lost its space.”

One of the things I love about the videos is the visuals of the old ways of doing things. The horses galloping across the land, the wide open spaces, living by the fire, etc.

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One Comment

  1. Oh, I love this!

    Here’s my humble contribution to your budding encyclopaedia:

    Diabo na Cruz, a puzzling rendering of ancestral Portuguese folk music, but on superamphetaminated steroids, a genre otherwise known as “Roque Popular”… 🙂

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