Founded in 1991 by students at the Conservatory of Ulan Bator, Mongolia, this six-piece group blends contemporary music of the region with traditional forms and instrumentation. These traditions have remained strikingly unspoiled in Mongolia, a large proportion of the population of which remains nomadic. The group’s name translates as ‘harmony’, or, more colloquially, ‘beautiful melody’. Through the 90s and on into the mid-00s, Egschiglen played festivals in Korea, Russia and throughout Europe, including Recklinghausen’s UN-ART Festival, Expo 2000 in Hannover, Reading’s WOMAD Festival and Istanbul’s Mystic Music Festival. They have also performed a modern opera, Ghengis Khan, a co-production with Italy’s Compagnia Pneumatica.
Over the years Egschiglen’s personnel has altered but in an early form included Tumenbayar ‘Tume’ Migdorj (morin khuur, a two-string instrument that is played like a cello), Tumursaihan ‘Tumro’ Yanlav (morin khuur), Uuganbaatar ‘Ugan’ Tsend-Ochir, (ih huur, not unlike a bass), Amartuwshin ‘Amra’ Baasandorj (tobshuur, a form of lute), Sarangel ‘Sara’ Tserevsamba (dulcimer/joochin), and Wandansenge ‘Boogi’ Batbold (percussion). All sing, with Amra the principal voice. Although not apparent from records, for live performances another member of the group is a dancer, Ariunaa, and their shows have been narrated by Taivan Chimeddoo.