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It was wonderful experience. we had some bad weather, but it gave me the opportunity to spend more time with nomad family and it was a very enriching time. Our guide Tuvshee was joyful and friendly and most importantly a very good cook (in extreme conditions) during tent camping. We want to come back and we will buy a ger to put in our garden!

~ Anais Julienne & Bernardo Montufar, France

Mongolian Rock Folk Band The Hu

Blog | published: 2020-03-09

The Hu is a Mongolian band formed in 2016, that blends heavy metal rock and folklore Mongolian music art. The band’s name The HU, is the Mongolian root word for Hun (human), harhun (man), huuhen (woman), huu (son), huuhee (younger brother or sister), hunnu (name of first state in Mongols). Therefore, the meaning of the band’s name is Human. They call their style Hunnu Rock or Hun’s rock is inspired by the Hunnu, an ancient Mongolian Empire, known as The Huns in western culture and their present descendants in Hungary. 

Mr.Dashdondog Bayarmagnai as Dashka initiated and made this music band and he has been working as a producer of the band. The Dashka’s and his art friends’ main goal was to achieve the international music interest scene and to open the acceptance of different style of rock: unexpected and unimaginable blend of west and east sounds of music. It will be the refresh and shining decoration for the heavy metal rock in worldwide. In order to achieve the goal, they worked hardly in last 7 years and made so much of researches and experiments in the worldwide rock audience feelings.

The band consists of following members: Galbadrah.TS as called as Gala, Nyamjantsan.G as Jaya, Temuulen.N as called as Temka, and Mr.Enkhsaikhan.B as Enkush. Members all were born and brought up during the the communist era of Mongolia, when western metal rock music was banned, and after socialism fail, their interest into hard rock was boomed up and they were tied to art in both of Mongolian traditional and western hard metal. A significant contemporary music scene has developed in Ulaanbaatar, fleshed out by lots of local pop and rock groups. Then after 2000 there is a new band of music appeared, that is blend of folk & rock. All four members have earned Bachelor’s or higher degrees in art education and had several years of touring experience throughout Asia and pacific countries.

The HU combines Rock Music with traditional Mongolian instrumentation like Morin Khuur (horsehead fiddle), Tovshuur (Mongolian guitar), Tumur Khuur (jaw harp), guttural throating singing and the bombastic bass and drums of rock. Gala plays horsehead fiddle and he makes a throat singing, too. Temka plays Mongolian guitar and he works as sound producer, too. Jaya plays jaw harp, flute and Mongolian tsuur (three holed pipe). All these music instruments were used by nomadic Mongols during Hunnu period – by 2000 years ago and they are still in use in 21 century, keep their high reputation in modern mongols’ essence and insight.

Why mongols can make a small change in their folklore music instruments and bright big change in their decoration, then they can mix it with the western style sounds. That is the crazy idea of Dashka and he started the work of changing Mongolian folklore instruments into present form. The band uses 2 of the horse fiddle strings, one is names as Fire fiddle (gal huur) with red color, another one is called as sky huur (tenger huur) with blue colors decoration. Their Mongolian guitar name is Nature guitar (baigali tovshuur), the three holed pipe name is Hun flute (hunnu tsuur). The fire fiddle, tenger fiddle, nature guitar music instruments have keeping a copyright under the name Hu. Their instruments mixed the slashing electric guitars and pounding drums of the west with the richness of the fire fiddle and sky fiddle, the tinniness of the mongolian guitar and the quaver of the a jaw harp and flutes. The beat they kept didn’t so much punch, a la western metal, as gallop, a reference to the horses prized by the nomadic tribes of the band’s ancestors. With so bracing a combination of sights and sounds, the Hu have been forging a highly improbable connection between the complexities of traditional Mongolian music and the 10-ton force of western metal.

Gala lets out a cavernous bellow that borders on a death-metal growl — but listen closer and you'll notice the guttural tones are balanced out by whistle-like harmonics, an element of traditional throat singing, then it is supported by the metal resonances of the music instruments. Nomadism and horse culture has been romanticized, and the emphasis on freedom and heroes tends to appeal to the stereotypical male heavy metal fan. The band’s themes focus on past national triumphs, the legendary rule of Genghis Khan, and the glorification of the nomadic warrior’s life.

Oriental language, oriental sounds, oriental fashion… old versions and new version… how it can be blended with western style of art and how it is accepted by western taste in art? Instead of singing in English, they sang exclusively in their native tongue, delivered in the ancient art of khoomei, or throat singing.  Humans and nature are connected, Mongols  respect nature, so they are trying to do is imitate the sound of the water, and the sound of the wind, so  nature and human soul is right in their voices. Throat singing  creates a very energetic sound. It was the fact that their sound is completely unique and energetic.

Since the formation of the band, they’ve been working on their first album, The Gerege. The word Gerege was used as the first diplomatic passport in the territory of Chinggis Khan’s Mongol empire in 13 century.  The album contains nine songs including viral hits “Yuve Yuve Yu” and “Wolf Totem”, and was released on September 13, 2019 via Eleven Seven Music. Some of the band’s lyrics include old Mongolian war cries and poetry. Despite The Gereg's intensity, much of the album's lyrics tap into a sense of reverence — like on the airy and uplifting "The Legend of Mother Swan," which showcases the harmonic range of the band's throat singing. "The message of the song is about the love of mothers for the kids," Gala notes of the track. Wolf Totem combines a bluesy hard-rock riff with the morin khuur's elegant drone into one walloping wall of sound. The Great Chinggis Khaan albom named after the famous Mongolian leader better known in the West as Genghis Khan — opens with a dusty riff that could be piped in from an old Robert Johnson recording before exploding into a marching pattern based on an old Mongolian rhythm.

Two videos on youtube released in the fall of 2018, Yuve Yuve Yu and Wolf totem, had garnered over 45 million views by October 2019. On 11 April 2019, Wolf Totem performance reached No. 1 on billboard's hard rock digital song sales, making The Hu the first Mongolian musical act to top a Billboard chart. In addition, "Yuve Yuve Yu" reached No. 7 on the same chart while Wolf Totem debuted at No. 22 on Billboard's Hot rock Songs chart. The Hu’s Facebook page has more than 300,000 followers. The Hu are not flash-in-the-pan internet fame seekers but serious musicians who didn’t quite expect this degree of attention, or they just want to conquer the world in art with heroic soul.

On 6 June 2019, the band released the lyric video for their third single Shoog Shoog. In June and July 2019, they performed twenty-three concerts in twelve European countries. The band released the music video for their fourth single The Great Chinggis Khan on 23 August 2019. We wanted to show the world who Chinggis Khaan really was, says Gala. "Our ancestors and Khaan brought a lot of beautiful things into the world: the first postal service; the Gereg, which is the first diplomatic passport introduced to the world. In the song, we talk about that. In my country, he is considered the founding father, just like George Washington is in America”.

The Hu’s music has become its own gerege music passport to travel all over the world. The band will embark on their North American tour from September 2019 until mid of December 2019, then heading to Europe and they perform in old continent between mid of January and mid of February 2020, then heading to Australia for 7 days in end of March, next stop is in Latin America Continent from end of March until mid of April in 2020.  

The imposing-looking members of the Hu sported leather too, only theirs bore the elaborate patterns and symbols of their homeland, Mongolia.  Leather jackets, leather outgourmets, skull rings and bandannas alongside intricately carved Mongolian horsehead fiddles are just some of the images of Mongolian band.

May of well-know people like Elton John, University of Chicago ethnomusicology doctorant, University of Wisconsin's Kip Hutchins, a doctoral student in cultural anthropology and so on.., they esteem the band in high level and a new band is introduced as preserving the Mongolian culture and art.    





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