happy mongolian new year!!!
well, its the first day of the mongolian lunar year and i’m hung over from hours of vodka induced celebrations. we are having the day off today which is great. we have been flat out since nacho arrived – hes only here for 3 weeks so have been cramming as much as possible into every day. its been great. we have had some amazing interviews – a music teacher and composer, a journalist who has been working for 23 years in the industry, the director of the musuem of persecution whose grandfather was the countries first prime minister in teh early 1900’s before communism came, and loads of artists and kids into hip hop.
we went to the national tv station at midnight and filmed one of the hot bands here, digital film their filmclip into the early hours of the morning (nacho nearly featured in it!) and then got out of ub and went dog sledding – an amazing couple of hours runnign round. unfortunately the snow is pretty crap this year so it was kinda weird to be riding up this frozen river with snowless hills surrounding us. its been set up by a french guy and is great fun. they are heading up to khovsgol – huge lakevin the north to spend a few months running 9 day trips the entire length of the lake! would be madness.
artists we have interveiwed have been tatar, muuhiin rep, b.a.t, gee, and my fave artist, quiza. most groups are pretty young here – in their 20’s, and b.a.t is like the grandfather of hip hop here (age, not establishemnt) at 33 years old. they have all been great interviews. nacho has been doing the filming, and fi and i have been asking the hard questions. we are getting pretty good at running the interveiws, although the delay due to translations can be annoying. some interviews have been conducted in englsih which have been a great relief. we have also interveiwed a sound engineer from singapore who seems to be the only foreigner in the music industry here.
we have met some young kids also into hip hop. some have been all about the performance, and not writing that much, but others have been writing some incredibly powerfull stuff. we visited some ger districts to meat some kids who had expressed interest and they sung us thier songs – pretty powerfull stuff! one girls song was about be an orphan – her father died last year and she was singing some amazing lines, and another young boy had written an amazing song about alcoholism. we also ran into the young rapper whom i met in the street and then dissapeared, and after interveiwing him on his moms bed, he busted out some amazing raps. we are looking freedom of speech and how hip hop is using that right more than any other music genre here. we have heard some pretty powerfull messages, and it wil be fascination to see how the scene develops over the next couple of years. with a huge population of young people here, a lot of who are into hip hop, it really has the potential to create some big changes in society here.
we also interveiwed some musicians who are shamans which was pretty amazing. they sung us a load of incredible music, and had some songs that sounded a lot like hip hop that were a couple of years old. with the throat singing here and those tracks, its interesting that hip hop artists here look to america so often for inspiration – at one point during the filmclip shoot, all the band members, and models who were dancing in the clip gathered around a laptop and watched a destiny’s child filmclip!! we hope to interveiw a few more bands before nacho leaves, and then fi and i will finish the rest of the interveiws before she leaves at the start of march. after that, i;’ll stick around to get all the interveiews translated to english and get the rest of the footage we need – shots of mongolia and fillers for the doco. will hopefully be back in oz round the end of march.
yesterday we rocked down to the wrestling to watch the new years competition which was great and next week we are heading to the next province to chat to a guy who is playing traditional music and rapping over the top of it. cant wait to check that out. heading to my mongolian friends place tonite to eat buuz – mongolian dumplings that are the offical food of tsaagan sar (new year) most familes make between 1000 to 2000 of them aroudn this time off year and visit each other feasting on them!!! sounds perfect!!!
big love – benj
photos at www.mongolianbling.blogspot.com