4 September 2007

Tumen Ekh National Song & Dance Ensemble

Posted by JonHaley under: Mongolia .

This is a bit out of date as it happened last week sometime, but we went out to see this pre-packaged variety style show of traditional Mongolian songs, dance, contortionist, and a few other odd and ends thrown in. It was obviously focused on tourists as everything was super short and to the point. I think they went through a dozen or so acts during the 1 hour performance, so it was really hopping. They apparently also do the same show every day from 6:00 to 7:00 throughout the summer (tourist season) so things were rather well rehearsed.

The performances were definitely off the hook: an amazing blast of unfettered color, sound, and movements that were just so jubilant and original that it made me a little embarrassed of the stuffy, straight-legged pseudo-culture we have over in Canada. They had a mask dance (crazy reindeer heads, dragons and other things straight out of a “Fear and Loathing” acid trip), horse fiddle (a 2-stringed fiddle used for most of the traditional music), throat singing (absolutely bizarre bi-tonal throat vibrations that sounds like a mix between a digereedo and a giant mosquito), traditional songs done with the full orchestra of Mongolian instruments, tons of dances, and even some very unnerving contortionist that were almost unwatchable in a car accident sort of way.

Once I figure out how to add video of stuff to the site I’ll add some clips to the media page. But in the meantime YouTube, throat singing and horse fiddle. Since the performances were so short the whole thing was primarily just a taster of some of the most common types of shows out there. I’m definitely going to be seeking out some more stuff like it and hopefully viewing it in a more organic environment.

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