Morin Huur

The Folk Music Traditions

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Ci Bulag has an interesting history. The veteran Mongolian musician was sentenced to imprisonment with hard labor during the reign of terror that communist dictator Mao Tse Tung called the Cultural Revolution, but he went on to become a prominent, highly regarded virtuoso who performed throughout China and was appointed professor at the Republic of Mongolia's National University of the Arts. The instrument that Bulag has been playing since the age of eight is the morin huur, a lute that is as important to traditional Mongolian music as the oud is to Arabic music and the saz is to Turkish music. Bulag displays his mastery of the morin huur on this CD, which was recorded in Peking in 1991. Joined by various singers and musicians, Bulag turns his attention to such traditional Mongolian songs as "Jaahan Sarga," "Dorvon Nastai Heer" and "Daya Boor." The performances are charming and quite soulful--when Bulag caresses the morin huur with his bow, he does so with a great deal of feeling. In fact, any Americans who have ever used the term "Chinese music" as a put-down should give Bulag's playing a close attention and hear for themselves just how moving traditional Asian music can be. Highly recommended.