Sounds of Mongolia

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Mongolian (or Tuvanese) music is a paradox. On the one hand, it boasts of the world's strangest singing: throat singing, in which the singer manipulates his jaw and sinuses in order to produce several tones at once with a growling, whistling, Popeye the Sailor Man kind of sound. On the other hand, the melodies and general vernacular of Mongolian music are completely accessible -- it sort of sounds like cowboy music. This last quality should not prove too surprising, because Mongolian culture is an outdoor culture, a horse culture. Egschiglen, although they make beautiful music, is not an outdoor group. They are affiliated with a conservatory. The music is more delicate, sophisticated, and refined than that of someone like Igor Koshkendey. Another tip off to the "classical" nature of the group is their use of the joochin or hammer dulcimer, an instrument one would hardly expect to find out on the wind-swept plateaus. This is symptomatic of a strong Chinese classical influence. Great tracks abound: "Tavan Hasag (Five Kazakhs)" chills you with its lurching rhythm and eerie throat singing. "Uglee Shaazgai (Colorful Magpie)" is a bouncy tune with repeated syllables and sound effects; it's surely a children's song. If you know you like Mongolian music or if you just want to try something fun and different, run out and buy this disc.

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