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Musical notes from Mongolia

Ahead of his first performance in India, Mongolian throat singer Hosoo Khosbayar chats about his unique art and its origin

  The Chandman­Sum province in Chovd, in the Altai mountain range of Western Mongolia, is the only area in Mongolia where Khoomei (overtone/throat singing) is performed and the technique is passed down generations to generation. Hailing from here is Hosoo Khosbayar, who will perform on Sunday at Banyan Tree’s two-day Ruhaniyat festival. The singer produces two, at times three, sounds as he sings the mystic verses, in this traditional, folk form.

Hosoo Khosbayar
Hosoo Khosbayar

Khosbayar was born into a family of Khoomei singers. “There is no official school for Khoomei. My family sang Khoomei during my childhood in an ensemble of 30 from our village. I have been practising since I was seven,” he tells us. “After school, I started my career as a singer in Ulaanbaatar (capital city of Mongolia) and worked in a Mongolian song and dance ensemble until 1993,” he adds, confessing that he still rehearses for one hour every day.

Talking about the form, Khosbayar who has been involved with this art for over 30 years, explains, “Most Mongolians are still living as nomads and have to cope with natural forces every day. They are closely connected with these forces. Khoomei is the result of this close connection to nature. A Khoomei­singer imitates nature: animals , the floating river, the echo of the mountains and the wind.”

After having toured as member of the ensembles Manduchai, Uyanga and Egschiglen through China, Russia and Europe, Khosbayar is excited about his first performance in India. “I usually sing traditional Mongolian songs and play the horsehead fiddle (traditional Mongolian bow-stringed instrument), explain the contents of the songs and tell the audience about the history and technique of this fascinating music.” At Ruhaniyat, Khosbayar will sing old traditional Mongolian songs.

On: November 29, 6.30 pm
At: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Fort.
Call:22844484

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