Introducing you to Mongolian ethno-jazz: Arga Bileg from Mongolia at the Asia Society in New York

Texy by Sohrab Saadat Larjevardi

Have you ever heard of Mongolian ethno-jazz? I didn’t. But I know that Mongolian wrestlers are very successful in the Japanese sumo world. In fact I don’t know much about this country and its culture, especially about Mongolian music. Of course I’ve heard about the overtone singing or throat singing, but that’s all. I also know that horse hair is used for making strings for Mongolian string instruments.

Anyway it’s good to know that my favorite music jazz expanded to Mongolia. Please check out the video below which shows the performance of the Mongolian ensemble Arga Bileg at the Asia Society in New York, October 19, 2012. Founded in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in 2009 by percussionist Gantulga Ganbat, this seven-piece ensemble fuses traditional Mongolian folk music with Western and jazz music.

The musicians areGantulga Ganbat (percussion), Davaazorig Altangerel (fiddle), Batzaya Khadhuu (fiddle), Munkhtogtokh Ochirkhuyag (zither), Purevsukh Tyeliman (piano), Jigjiddorj Nanzaddorj (fiddle) and Bayasgalan Terbish (percussion).

All Arga Bileg musicians are members of the country’s prestigious national orchestra, the National Morin Khuur Ensemble of Mongolia. Performing in venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Beijing’s National Grand Theater and the Vienna Philharmonic. In June 2010 the band did the soundtrack for horror film Dev and released the ethno jazz record Deelt.

This video is one hour and seventeen minutes long. Enjoy this performance with piano, percussion, horse-head fiddles, zither and throat singing.