Khusugtun - Songlines Music Awards 2021 Nominee | Songlines

Asia & Pacific

Jangar (Buda Musique)

Khusugtun Jangare

The six musicians who form Khusugtun first came together at Mongolia’s National Academic Ensemble of Music and Dance in Ulaanbaatar, united by an interest in the Mongolian khöömii style of overtone or throat singing. Led by composer and arranger Ariunbold Dashdorj, the group set about blending the traditional style with Western polyphony and recorded a self-released and hard-to-find debut in 2009 titled Khusugtun Ethnic Ballad Group, which Songlines included in its list of Essential Ten throat singing albums (April 2020) alongside records by better-known acts such as Yat-Kha and Huun-Huur-Tu. Their 2020 release, Jangar, is even better, serving up an epic mix of throat singing, traditional horse-head fiddles, mouth bows, lutes, zithers, guitars, cello, Western-styled harmonies and narrated introductions on what is their first widely available international release. The vocalising ranges from throaty growls to spectral whistles and the opening track, ‘Chinggis Khaan’, takes you straight into their world with a rhythm that conjures a herd of horses galloping across the steppes. The tight ensemble arrangements give the record’s 11 tracks a suite-like quality – a magical tapestry of sound calibrated weightlessly between the gorgeous and the outrageous. Nigel Williamson

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