Welcome to my home page! I hope to keep my family and friends informed about our life and times in UlaanBaator for the next year
I choose the title 'NewDayNewDawn ' as a symbol of this adventure I have embarked upon. Being over fifty and after living in downtown Toronto, a city of every conveniences I find myself here in UB the cultural and business center of Mongolia, and a hub connecting the Trans-Siberian Railway with the Chinese rail system, Ulan Bator has become a thriving urban center in one of the most remote areas in the world.
It has none the less been a culture shock but still in its own ways a great adventure one of the many s[lendours I will mention is the Tibetan-style Gandan Monastery, one of the few buildings in Ulan Bator to predate WWII and one of the few monasteries to survive the Soviet purge.
I wake up everyday ready to face the many challenges which the day is guaranteed to bring my way. Whether its the cold or the grey dusk from the ever arid dessert land or crossing the street in front of drivers who pay no regards to traffic rules and will not stop for pedestrians or just knowing that I will have to walk up and down four flights of stairs at least 18 - 20 times a day.(4 floors where I live and 4 floors at my workplace). Keeping in mind all the many hurdles,I still feel that this move was a good idea,
So for the strangest reasons (still to be revealed to me) I heard the buss in my head. It's a New day and a new dawn so go get them "Piper". That's just what I did.
Mongolia, with its relatively small population of just slightly over two million, has a strikingly rich and varied traditional musical culture. It combines archaic elements dating from ancient times with musical traditions connected with borrowings dating from later periods. Traditional music was influenced deeply by the lifestyles and economy, as well as by the beliefs of the Mongols. Many specific features of Mongolian music the way the sound is produced vocally, the timbre and coloring of the sound, the way musical instruments are played all of this is determined by the close relationship of music to the natural environment and by the Mongol's notions about the essence of music and its purpose. It is a reflection of the relationship between people and nature as seen through the patterns of its inherited and evolving logic.
Urtyin duu (long song) - melismatic and richly ornamented, with a slow tempo, long melodic lines, wide intervals and no fixed rhythm.
People usually practise these long songs while being alone in the open steppe and riding along slowly. The repertory is an expression of the liberty and the vastness of the Mongolian steppe and is used to accompany the rites of the seasonal cycles and the ceremonies of everyday life. Long songs are an integral part of the celebrations held in the round tents and they must be sung following the strict rules of performance.
- Bogin duu (short song) - strophic, syllabic, rhythmically tied, sung without ornaments.
Short songs are never sung at celebrations, since they are spontaneously improvised and rather satirical. They are often sung in the form of a dialogue and speak of certain friends and incidents, or they are lyrical tales about love, about everyday life and about animals, especially horses.
The Mongolian songs have a rich repertory. Music spread from home to home on the occasion of festivities and by way of teaching. The family or the clan meeting constituted a good chance to gather and sing together, the chance to learn from others, and to take home a new melody. In this way, the ancient patterns performed in various corners of Mongolia have been preserved by local masters for the whole nation. Some specific types are: labor songs (work songs); buuvei songs (lullaby); hunter's calls [to attract animals by imitating their call); various herder's calls, [to manage the herds by means of signalling (each animal has its own signal)]; uukhai or gulyingoon songs which are linked to seasonal events (arrival of spring, mare milk flows, horse race training, etc.); many other songs announcing birthdays, weddings, national holidays, winning a horse race or a wrestling competition, celebration of the elders, wool cutting, cashmere combing, arrival of harvest and many more songs for singing and dancing together.
The nomad shepherds in Mongolia, like other nomads from Central Asia, used to play string and wind instruments. The national music of Mongolia has had a rich background and a great tradition that goes back many centuries. Ensembles (orchesters) have performed at court or in the monasteries for lamaistic celebrations or in ritual ceremonies. Ensembles also play for daily rites in the ger (round tents). The morin khuur (horse-head violin or 'fiddle') (morin = horse; khuur = sound, rhyme, melody) is the most important traditional instrument for dance and to accompany songs. It is the national instrument.
Here is a link to a very special type of Mongolian throat singing.