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University at Albany
 

Mongolian Music and Dance from the Grassland of China

Albany, NY (Oct., 23, 2016) ---- UAlbany Confucius Institute presented a spectacular performance by a troupe from the Arts College of Inner Mongolia, Hohhot, China. About 400 people from both the campus and the community packed the Campus Center Ballroom, and enjoyed the stunningly beautiful Mongolian music and dance. After brief remarks by the Directors of CI, Dr. Youqin Huang and Dr. Dejun Cao, the Dean of International Education, Dr. Harvey Charles, and Dr. Tong Chen and Tom Conner from partner LeLand and Gray Union High School in Vermont, audiences were happily amazed by one beautiful song after another amazing dance. The colorful costume, the powerful Mongolian dance, the unforgettable music by Horsehead Fiddles, the phenomenal throat singing, the amazing Mongolian Long Song, and the unbelievable bowl dance, all took audiences on an exciting journey to the vast grassland in the Far East! A dozen of children were so attracted by the performance that they sat on the floor right in front of the stage to get a close look.

While audiences enjoyed a sensational feast of music and dance, this performance featured three UNESCO intangible cultural heritages in Inner Mongolia, China.

First, Khoomei (or throat singing, throat harmony) is a Mongolian art of singing and a unique form of musical expression. A single performer produces a diversified harmony of multiple voice parts simultaneously, often including a continued bass element produced in the throat and a high-tone melody. Traditionally performed on the occasion of ritual ceremonies, songs express respect and praise for the natural world, for the ancestors of the Mongolian people and for great heroes. Khoomei has long been regarded as a central element representing Mongolian culture and remains a strong symbol of their ethnic identity. Last night, audiences enjoyed two amazing throat singing performances, accompanied by traditional Mongolian music instruments.

The second is Mongolian Long Song (or Long Tune). Through the use of circular breathing, performers are able to produce the continuous, wide-ranging melodies characteristic of the long song. It is a distinctive style of folk song sung by Mongolian herdsmen. The Mongolian Long Song Solo “The Vast Grassland” by Meng Gensudu brought the Mongolian grassland to audiences.

The third is Hoursehead Fiddle (or Morin Khuur). It is a traditional Mongolian bowed two-stringed instrument, which often features a carved horse's head at the peghead. It is one of the most important musical instruments of the Mongolian people, and is considered a symbol of the Mongolian culture. It produces beautiful and amazing music. There were several Morrin Khuur performance, with audiences clapping and singing.

The performance was a stunningly successful event, with the community enjoying Mongolian music and dance, and appreciating intangible cultural heritages from China.

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