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Nada in Mongolia tour dates diary 5

 

Khovd Khovd Aimag17/9/94

 

Khovd was a major town on the northern branch of the ancient

silk-road. Now it is the capital of the aimag of the same name.

The theatre is a grand neo classical structure built by the  Russians. NADA played two concerts, which were both well attended. It took all day to get the electricity working (many thanks to Sengedorj the khöömii singer from Khovd Theatre) at the theatre, however just as the first concert was starting the power cut. NADA continued the first half of the concert in candlelight (NADA's set was designed to be both acoustic and/or electric). Graeme Scott performed some improvised music on the grand piano that was found stored at the side of the stage. This was the first time free improvisation on a piano was heard in Khovd. (Altai was maybe the first free improvisation on a piano to be heard in Mongolia!). The audience loved his energy but were a little perplexed at the meaning of it all.

Michael had many friends from last years visit and they sang along with his khöömii version of Buyant Gol and Dorvon Uul.

We said goodbye to Gereltsogt as he was to stay with his family who now live in and around Khovd and to Chris Johnston who would record Sengedorj and others for his CD project with pan records.

 

 

Olgii, Bayan Olgii Aimag19/9/94

 

Olgii is the capital of the Bayan‑Olgii province and is the furthest west province in Mongolia. We travelled to Oglii from Khovd with Mr Samjid, the director of the Minority theatre in Olgii. He is a Uriangkhai and puts on performances of the Uriangkhai, Tuvan and Darkhad minority peoples.

(Bayan‑Olgii is populated in the majority by Kazakhs). On the way we stopped by a crystal clear stream reflecting turquoise from the sky and sparkling diamonds from the bright sunlight. The air was clean, the mountains of snow reached to heaven and Graeme cooked us a most delicious vegetable curry. Our drivers went to the nearest Ger to fill up with their supply of meat. We got out our instruments and improvised inspired by the landscape around and a few Vodka toasts. Samjid started to dance his wonderful dance of eyes in opposition, smiling and wiggling around with abandon and precision. Steve Teers was filming all this and now Samjid is known as, “Wiggling man” to many a clubber that Steve VJ’s to around London. The concert took place in his theatre and NADA were presented with a Urianghai Tobshuur (a traditional 2 stringed fretless trapezoidal lute) to celebrate a successful concert and the end of the countryside part of NADA's tour.

 

NADA had travelled over 2,000kin overland in a bus across the Mongolian steppe, the Gobi desert and the Altai mountains. They had opened their Mongolian audiences to Welsh, Turkish, Greek music, were amazed by Michael Ormiston's renditions of Mongolian khöömii, intrigued by the didgeridoo of Richard Manning, silenced by the tones of the Tibetan singing bowls, perplexed by the free‑improvising piano antics of Greame Scott and were uplifted by the sheer energy and enthusiasm of the NADA group as a whole. NADA then flew back to Ulaanbaatar for the final series of concerts of the tour.

 

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