Jargalant Altai Track Details

 

A. Field recordings

 

I. X种MII

 

[1] ALTAIN MAGTAAL (Praise song to the Altai Mountains). Performed by Nanjid Sengedorj. Recorded outside Xovd City on 18th September 1994. Sengedorj, 48, is a native of Chandman' sum. He has worked for many years as a professional musician at the theatre in Xovd, City. This praise song was originally performed by the Urianxai before the rendition of an epic. The lyrics describe the many natural riches of the Altai Mountains. Sengedorj alternates between x鲻mii and the guttural xailax style of singing. He accompanies himself on the tovshuur (two‑stringed lute).

 

[2] MEDLEY OF X种MII STYLES. Performed by Nanjid Sengedorj. Recorded outside Xovd City on18th September 1994. Here, Sengedorj performs three highly individual X种MII styles: xarigaa, xarxiraa and Altain X种MII. The Mongolian word xarig refers to the flow of water over stones or other objects. This is brilliantly represented by the soft shimmering harmonies of xarigaa. Altain X种MII is a variant of Sengedorj's normal X种MII style.

 

[3] GOOJ NANAA (A girl's name). Performed by Nanjid Sengedorj. Recorded outside Xovd City on 18th September 1994. This popular short song tells of a beautiful young woman named Gooj Nanaa. The first and third verses are performed in a X种MII voice; the second and fourth verses are sung in the normal melodic singing style.

 

[4] BUYANT GOL (Buyant river). Performed by Yanjiv Tsogtbaatar. Recorded in Ulaanbaatar on 19th October 1994. Tsogtbaatar, 22, was born in Xovd City and received X种MII lessons there from Sengedorj. He is now a professional singer with an ensemble based in the capital Ulaanbaatar. The Buyant River flows from its source in the Altai Mountains eastwards towards Xar Us Nuur, the largest of Xovd's lakes. This bogino duu describes the beauty of the river and its surroundings.

 

[5] MANDUUL XAANY MAGTAAL (In praise of Manduul Khan). Performed by Yanjiv Tsogtbaatar. Recorded in Ulaanbaatar on 19th October 1994. Unlike other well-known X种MIIch, Tsogtbaatar is an Urianxai by birth. As a singer, he is able to reproduce the Xalxa X种MII style of the Chandman' singers. But he is also able to perform a style of overtone singing, which is closer to the khoomei performed in Tuva (people from western Mongolia sometimes refer to the inhabitants of Tuva as the Urianxai). Tsogtbaatar's rendition of this magtaal certainly recalls the singing and playing of many latter‑day Tuvan performers. He accompanies himself on the tovshuur.

 

[6] DUNCHUUR MAANIIN ORSHIL (Introduction to the Dunchuur mantra). Performed by Amaryn Altanxuyag. Recorded in Ulaanbaatar on 17th October 1994. Altanxuyag, 18, was born in Ulaanbaatar and is one of a group of teenagers being taught X种MII by the brothers Ganbold and Gereltsogt. He performs this Buddhist chant as a way of practising his xarxiraa voice. Although he is able to reach very low notes during this piece, his young voice clearly lacks the full power that will only be attained after years of training.

 

[7] THE FIVE MAIN X种MII TYPES. Performed by Tserendavaa. Recorded in Chandman' sum, Xovd aimag on 16th September 1994. Tserendavaa, 40, works as a truck driver in Chandman' sum. He demonstrates the five main X种MII types according to the Chandman' tradition. These are: a) uruulyn X种MII (labial X种MII), b) tagnain xoomii (palatal X种MII), c) bagalzuuryn X种MII (glottal xoomii), d) tseejnii xondiin X种MII (chest cavity X种MII), e) xamryn X种MII (nasal X种MII)

 

II. ISGEREE

 

[8] URUUL ISGEREE (Labial whistling).

[9] SHUDNII ISGEREE (Tooth/dental whistling).

 

[8] and [9] performed by Tserendavaa. Recorded in Chandman'sum, Xovd aimag on 16th September 1994. Tserendavaa here demonstrates the two types of isgeree, which he himself distinguishes. The two performances are based on improvised folk melodies.

 

III. INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC

 

[10] ALTAIN TSUURAI (Echoes of the Altai Mountains). Performed by Nanjid Sengedorj. Recorded outside Xovd City on 18th September 1994. Sengedorj's tsuur (end‑blown flute) was damaged during a recent overseas concert tour. He plays this piece on a homemade instrument fitted with a plastic mouthpiece. 'Altain tsuurai' is an improvisation based around a local folk melody. The performance highlights several of the different playing techniques associated with the tsuur.

 

[11] XUMUUN TOROLXTON (Humankind).

 

[12] ZADGAI TSAGAAN UUL (Zadgai Tsagaan mountain). [11] and [12] performed by Tserendorj Soyolerdene on the xulsan xuur (bamboo Jew's harp). Recorded in Ulaanbaatar on 11th and 18th October 1994 respectively. Soyolerdene, 13, is the son of Tserendorj (see below). 'Xumuun torolxton' and 'Zadgai tsagaan uul' are popular bogino duu melodies. Both songs are regularly performed on the Jew's harp.

 

[13] BOGD XAIRXANY AYALGUU (Bogd xairxan melody). Performed by Tseyen Tserendorj on the tomor xuur (metal Jew's harp). Recorded in Ulaanbaatar on 19th October 1994. Tserendorj, 53, is a native of Bayan‑ovoo sum, Omnogov' airmag (southern Mongolia). He now lives in Ulaaanbaatar and is well known for his performances of legends and praise songs. 'Bogd xairxany ayalguu' is an improvisation based on a familiar folk melody. The title refers to the name of a mountain.

 

[14] TOMOR XUUR SOLO (Metal Jew's harp solo). Performed by Yanjiv Tsogtbaatar. Recorded in Ulaanbaatar 19 October 1994. Tsogtbaatar performs another short improvisation on a particularly fine sounding tomor xuur, given to him by his xoomii teacher Sengedorj.

 

IV. BOGINO DUU

 

Tracks 15 to 18 are examples of bogino duu performed by amateur singers from Chandman' sum. Each of the four songs is also a familiar X种MII melody. Bogino duu are sung inside the ger during family celebrations. Often, a member of the family will start up a song spontaneously, to be joined by the rest of family group after the first few bars. The urtyn duu and Bogino duu performing styles adopted by the Western Xalxa differ markedly from those found in central and eastern parts of the country.

 

[15] TSENXERLEN XARAGDAX UUL (Distant light blue mountains). Performed by Tarajav Pagam. Recorded outside Xovd City on 21st September 1994. Pagam, 50, is a native of Chandman' sum. She now lives close to Xovd City. 'Tsenxerlen xaragdax uul' is a nostalgic song describing the beauty of the landscape.

 

[16] BUYANT GOL (Buyant river). Performed by Taravjav Pagam and Taravjav Xandaa. Recorded Outside Xovd City on 21st September 1994. Xandaa, 40, was born in Chandman' sum but now lives in Ulaanbaatar where she works in a kindergarten. She and Pagam are elder sisters of the X种MII singer Ganbold. This version of Buyant gol was recorded in a family ger alongside the Buyant River itself.

 

[17] DORVON NASTAI XALIUN (The four‑year‑old yellow horse). Performed by Taravjav Barjav. Recorded outside Xovd City on 22nd September 1994. Barjav,6o, is an elder brother of Pagam and Xandaa. He sang urtyn duu for several years at the theatre in Xovd City before retiring. Like many other songs, 'Dorvon nastai xaliun' consists of 4‑line stanzas in which the first two lines refer to the singer's horse and the last two to his sweetheart or another person close to him. ...

 

The four‑year‑old yellow horse

When the stirrups are stretched...

The square‑looking figure

Is the figure of my loved one approaching..

 

[18] BAYAN XAIRXAN (The name of a mountain). Performed by Taravjav Barjav. Recorded outside Xovd City on 22nd September 1994. The title of this song may also be translated as 'Rich, bounteous mountain'.

 

B. Recordings from the archives of Mongol Radio

 

Author's note: all of the track details printed below were taken from the boxes housing the original tapes. Some of the written notes were barely legible and it is possible that minor errors may have been made in the copying of these details.

 

1. AMAAR LIMBEDEX

 

[19] a) ONCHIN TSAGAAN BOTGO (The white, orphaned first‑year camel)

牋牋牋 h) XEER MOR' (The chestnut horse)

牋牋 c) BAATAR TSOGTYN NAGATS (Baatar Tsogt's uncle)

牋牋 d) SHALZAT BAAXAN SHARGA (The speckled light bay horse)

 

Performed by Tserennadmid from Ovorxangai aimag (Central Mongolia). Recorded on 20th January 1983. The amaar limbedex vocal form has its own repertoire embracing both urtyn duu and bogino duu melodies. Two urtyn duu pieces are performed here (a, d). The other two songs belong to the bogino duu genre. The melody of 'Onchin tsagaan botgo' mimics the cries of an orphaned baby camel. 'Shalzat baaxan sharga' is an expression of a man's grief after he mistakenly kills his brother during a hunting trip.

 

II. ISGEREE

 

[20} a) XEDEN GYALAAN XON' (A group of white sheep)

牋牋牋 b) NAIGAL GOL (Naigal river)

 

Performed by Erdenebileg from Xovd aimag. Recorded on 19th January 1983. 'Xeden gyalaan xon" and 'Naigal gol' are both well-known bogino duu melodies. They are performed in the shudnii isgeree (tooth /dental whistling) style. The notes accompanying the source tape refer to this style as tagnain isgeree (palatal whistling).

 

[21] XAN XARANUI (The name of an epic hero). Performed by Erdeneburen from Xovd aimag. Another short piece performed in the shudnii isgeree style.

 

III. TSUUR

 

[22] a) ALTAIN MAGTAAL (Praise song to the Altai Mountains)

牋牋b) BUILGAN SHAR ATNY YAVDAL (The gait of the bellowing yellow camel)

牋牋牋 c) EVEEN GOLYN URSGAL (The flow of the River Ev)

牋牋牋 d) XANGAIN MAGTAAL (Praise song to the Xangai Mountains)

 

Performed by Narantsogt from Xovd aimag. Recorded in 1983. The repertoire of pieces for the tsuur includes mainly improvised folk melodies and dance tunes. The above listing should be treated with caution: (d) is referred to as 'Eveen golyn ursgal' on a separate cassette issued by Mongol Radio, whilst (a) is titled 'Xangain magtaal' on an early CD released On the GREM label (see discography).

 

[23] a) YEROOLT XALTAR (The lucky spotted horse)

牋牋牋 h) TSAMYN BIYELGEE (Tsam dance)

 

Performed by Narantsogt from Xovd aimag. Recorded on 18th November 1983. Tsam is a masked Buddhist dance.

 

IV. X种MII

 

[24] BUURAL MOR' (The grey horse). Performed by Chimeddorj. Recording date unknown. The sound on [24] and [25] is rather poor.

[25] XONIN JOROO MOR' (The horse that paces like a sheep). Performed by Chimeddorj. Recording date unknown. [24] and [25] were probably recorded in the period 1960‑ 1965. Chimeddorj was a renowned X种MIIch at that time and these are among the very few recordings that exist of his singing.

 

[26] DORVON NASTAI XAL1UN/GOOJNANAA (The four year‑old yellow horse/A girl's name). Performed by Sundui, accompanied by Mend‑amar on the Yoochin (hammer dulcimer). Recorded on 18th July 1965. Sundui has influenced latter‑day X种MII performers perhaps more than any other figure. This track, when compared with the two preceding selections demonstrates the role played by Sundui in help璱ng to elevate X种MII to the level of a musical art form.

 

[27] a) TSENXERLEN XARAGDAX UUL (Distant light blue mountains)

牋牋牋牋 b) TOORION TSAGAAN ELS (The sands of Tooroin tsa璯aan)

牋牋牋牋 c) MINI XONGOR XOTOD BI (My love lives in the City)

牋牋牋牋 d) BUURAL MOR (The grey horse)

 

Performed by Monxsanaa from Uvs aimag. Recorded on 20th January 1983. . Monxsanaa's X种MII voice is quite different from the 'classical' sound of Sundui and other Chandman' singers. His drone note is much louder and a pulsating rhythm is present throughout these short pieces. They are all popular bogino duu melodies. The radio station notes did not specify whether or not Monxsanaa belonged to the Bayad Yastan.

 

[28] a) TOOROI BANDI (The name of a folk hero)

牋牋牋 b) BAYAN XAIRXAN (The name of a mountain)

 

Performed by Tserendavaa. Recorded on 24th January 1983. Tooroi Bandi is a Dariganga melody from eastern Mongolia. The eponymous hero of the song battled for social justice among his people.

[29] TSOMBON TUURAITAI XUREN (The chestnut horse with cup‑like hooves). Performed by Davaajav from Xovd aimag. Recorded on 14th January 1983. Davaajav is an amateur X种MIIch from Chandman' sum. He performs another well-known bogino duu melody.

 

[30] GOOJ NANAA (A girl's name). Performed by a X种MII group from Jargalant village, Chandman' sum. Recorded on 22nd December 1986. It is rare for X种MII performers to attempt to sing in unison. This recording is something of a curiosity therefore.

 

[31] a) YUNDEN GOOGOO (A man's name)

b) SIILEN BOOR (A girl's name) Performed by Ganbold, accompanied by Altantuul and Tserenxorloo on two yatgas (zithers). Recorded on 11th September 1987. These are both well-known love songs. X种MII is seldom performed with yatga accompaniment, the morin xuur or yoochin usually being preferred.

 

[32] XUMUUN TOROLXTON (Humankind). Performed by Tserendavaa, accompanied by Boldoo on the dorvon chixtei xuur (four‑stringed bowed fiddle). Recorded on 7th December 1987.

 

[33] ONCHIN TSAGAAN BOTGO (The white, orphaned first‑year camel). Performed by Tserendavaa, accompanied by Tsogbadrax on the morin xuur (two stringed bowed fiddle). Recorded on 25th May 1991.

 

[32] and [33] feature two superlative performances from Tserendavaa. The first piece is a rendition of a popular bogino duu melody. The second piece, by contrast, is an urtyn duu melody. Tserendavaa has exceptional control over his X种MII whistle, allowing him to closely follow the decorative melody played on the morin xuur.

 

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