Mongolia by Ensemble Mandukhai : Playasound PS6511 (published 1993)

This CD contains four tracks of the excellent khöömii singing of Tsogtbaatar who I met in 1993 and 1994 in Mongolia. There is also some great morin khuur playing by Tumurbaatar and the usual ensemble pieces.


1. Enkh Mendin Bajar. Long song.

    Dashtsermaa, voice; Tumurbaatar, morin khuur. Song  wishing happiness for various circumstances:   

    birthdays, happy events.


2. Ar Khovch1in Unaga. Long song.

    Dashtsermaa, voice; Tumurbaatar, morin khuur. Song in honour of the horses that are said to be good  



3. Durvun Oirdyn Uria. Morin khuur solo.

    Tumurbaatar. Whilst evoking the groups that formerly lived in Mongolia, Tumurbaatar, using ancient     

    musical modes, illustrates the playing techniques of the morin khuur: various types of bowing, glissandi, etc.


4. Altai. Song of praise.

    Batsuur, khel khuur, voice; Dashzeveg, tovshuur, voice;  Tsogbaatar, ikel, voice. Songs of praise can

    be addressed to nature, as is the case here. The Altai is a mountain range in south‑west Mongolia, forming

    a natural boundary with China and Kazakhstan. A celebration of the people and animals living there.


5. Khan Khokhiin Ujanga. Limbe solo. ‑ Music by Badam.

    Battuvshin, limbe , Selengee, yochin. Using two different‑sized flutes, Battuvshin evokes the wind, birdsong and the beauty of the countryside and nature. This

    piece is both descriptive and meditative; it also illustrates the virtuosity of the musician.


6. "Mandukhai". Dance. ‑ Music by Z. Khangai.

    Folk orchestra. A dance in honour of Queen Mandukhai, the granddaughter of Genghis Khan, from whom the ensemble took its name. She is described not only

    as a brave horsewoman, but also as a tender mother and a loving wife.


7. Khuumii. Diphonic song.

    Tsogbaatar, voice, tovshuur; folk orchestra. Tsogbaatar was the pupil (or, rather, disciple) of the famous Tserendavaa; he is considered to be one of the

    greatest specialists in singing.


8. Ulgeriin Kholboo. Shudraga solo. ‑ Music by Mend‑Amar.

    Gerelmaa, shudraga. The title means Lacework of fairy tales. Gerelmaa plays a series of short themes on the shudraga, using all the instrument's possibilities.


9. Zandan Khuren. Uzemchin song.

    Dashzevag, voice. The Uzemchin are one of Mongolia's minority groups. They are reputed for the variety of their songs. The themes are to do with the horse, the

    strong men and good riders taking part in the many traditional equestrian games.


10. Zaakhan Sharga. Long song.

      Dashzevag, voice; folk orchestra. The title is the name of a particularly well‑loved horse, to whom the song  is dedicated.


11. Khavar. Song for springtime.

      Batsuur, voice ' folk orchestra. Between the harshness of winter and the heat of summer, springtime is the season that is most appreciated by peoples living

      close to nature. It is also the time of the birth of the foals, lambs, kids and young camels, which guarantee a happy future.


12. Dorvon Uul. Song about the mountains.

      Batsuur, voice; folk orchestra. This folksong, whose title means, “The Four Mountains”, is usually sung by  a bass or a baritone. It is an ode to the beauty of his

      beloved and of the four mountains surrounding Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia.


13. Delger Moron. Song about the River Delger.

      Dashzevag, voice; folk orchestra. Here we have another song about nature, this time a description of the River Delger.


14. Dari Ekhiin Burilba. Buddhist themes.

      Dashzevag, voice; folk orchestra. Although the oldest religion, shamanism, is still present among the Mongols, Lamaism, a form of Buddhism introduced to the

      third Mongol empire in the 16th century, is the dominant religion. This song is an example of Lamaist music.


15. Uran Nugaralt. Melody.

      Folk orchestra. Among the spectacular feats that are a part of traditional Mongol culture, the most surprising for us are those of the contortionists, who perform

      alone or in pairs. We would consider them to be circus acts, but in Mongolia they belong to folk art. The suite of melodies played by the orchestra accompanies

      Enkhtseteg and Enkhchimeg, two sisters who trained at the Norovsambuu school.


16. Kuumii. Diphonic song.

      Tsogbaatar, voice; folk orchestra. This piece is based on the music composed by Zantsannorov for the film "Queen Mandukhai the Wise".


17. Kuunu. Dance.

      Folk orchestra. This dance is based on the story of Börtu the wolf and the lovely Maral. Börtu was a legendary wolf, an ancestor of the emperor Genghis Khan.

      He fell in love with the lovely Maral, a beautiful doe, and came down from heaven to carry her off.


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