Russians sing when they are drunk. Americans sing before a baseball game. Mongols sing all day long.
They all live through the songs –Mongolian shamans, Mongolian women, Mongolian children, Mongolian youth and Mongolian elders. Even walking the streets of modern Ulan Bator, you might pass a city-dressed Mongol on his way to work and realize he’s humming an old tune. Music of every kind is so important for the Mongolian psyche that in the very heart of Ulan Bator you will find – against all odds – a monument to the Beatles.
There is a Mongolian folk song for every life occasion. You’ve got your short songs (happy and peppy), you’ve got your long-form (used during a 2-day horseback ride to the nearest town); you’ve got songs about motherland and ancestors (performed at weddings and birthdays, as well as each Tuesday and Thursday); you’ve got your weather and Nature songs (counted in hundreds); you’ve got your humorous songs; your sad songs; and of course you’ve got the unforgettable Mongolian throat singing, the sounds of which makes you wish you’d drop dead immediately right where you are so you could be re-born a Mongol, preferably in the open steppe, better yet – as Genghis Khan 2.0.
Fortunately, I managed to thoroughly document the Mongolian folk music in all its glory using my new HD camera during a 2-hour colorful spectacle by the famous, classically trained Mongolian performers wearing the lavish traditional costumes upon the grand stage of the Ulan Bator National Music Theatre.
Unfortunately, I also managed to accidentally delete that whole file at some point along the road.
Luckily, I still have a golden nugget to share – a down-to-earth, hardcore authentic musical performance by the true artists, who need no elaborate costumes and no fancy stage to spill out their hearts when the time feels right.
However impressive the traditional Mongol folk music is, though, it does get even better than this: just search the YouTube for the Mongolian rap videos. A sentimental fool that I am, I can’t help getting all misty watching how Mongols always stay true to their roots: even in this seemingly foreign music genre, even when riding black SUVs instead of black stallions, even when donning baseball caps and holding back roaring pit-bulls… Even then they manage to make every song to be about the vast Mongolian fields, the endless sky and the ancestors that look down on us from above; about the unbreakable Mongolian brotherhood; about the Genghis of the past and the imminent coming of Genghis of the future; and always – with no exception – a little bit about love.