Mongolian throat singers defend tradition against China

By Jargal Byambasuren

ULAN BATOR (Reuters Life!) - Bitonal humming is not a common form of patriotic protest, but for traditional Mongolian singers, it was the best way to lay claim to an art form they say has been usurped by China.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, in November listed Mongolian throat singing as an art native to China, outraging Mongolian performers and fans who proudly remember that Genghis Khan conquered China 800 years ago.

Sandwiched between Russia and China, Mongolians fear China's growing economic and diplomatic power will overwhelm their landlocked country.

"Mongolians have neither lost nor forgotten the heritage passed down to us by our ancestors," said Sumiyabazriin Zagd-Ochir, one of many throat singers who crowded into Ulan Bator's Central Cultural Palace to defend their claim to the art.

"For years, this art has been performed and handed down to the younger generations. It has a very high standard of development and it will develop more."

China is the sole country named on the UNESCO representative listing for throat singing, although the brief explanation says Mongolian communities in Inner Mongolia in China, western Mongolia and Russia all practice the art.

Throat singers can simultaneously produce two different notes. A hum in the throat harmonizes with the melody.

China has 500 times Mongolia's population. Han Chinese outnumber ethnic Mongolians in Inner Mongolia, and dominate the regional government as well as heavy industry and mining.

Mongolia's Minister of Education, Culture and Sciences sent a letter to the Director of the World Heritage Center of UNESCO expressing his "deep concerns" over the listing, Mongolia's UB Post reported earlier this month.

This is not the first time a UNESCO designation has caused controversy. North Korea opposed China's attempts to register the the royal tombs of the ancient Koguryo kingdom with UNESCO, on the grounds that the kingdom was an ethnic Korean kingdom. UNESCO in 2004 listed Koguryo-era tombs in both countries.

Eight centuries ago, Mongol clans under Genghis Khan controlled the steppes stretching from Beijing to Poland. One of their legacies is throat singing, also performed by people in Tuva, a Russian republic bordering Mongolia and Siberia.

Mongolia and China already share one art form recognized by UNESCO. Urtiin duu, a Mongolian folk song, is listed as a multinational art with elements from both China and Mongolia.

"Mongolian throat singing and the Mongolian horse head instrument belong to Mongolia," said 63-year-old Lambiranii Rentsen.

"I believe UNESCO will correct its mistake."

(Writing by Lucy Hornby, editing by Miral Fahmy)

Source:Reuters News Agency
Share:

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Facebook page

Powered by Blogger.

Categories

Advertising in Mongolia An Culture Editorial of the Mongolianviews education Environmental protection Famous Mongolians Foreigners in Mongolia Inner Mongolia Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia agriculture Mongolia analysis Mongolia and Australia Mongolia and Belorussia Mongolia and Cambodia Mongolia and Canada Mongolia and central Asia Mongolia and China Mongolia and Cuba Mongolia and EU Mongolia and Germany Mongolia and Hongkong Mongolia and Hungary Mongolia and India Mongolia and Inner Mongolia Mongolia and Iran Mongolia and Italy Mongolia and Japan Mongolia and Kazakhstan Mongolia and Korea Mongolia and Kuwait Mongolia and Malaysia Mongolia and Nato Mongolia and North Korean Mongolia and Poland Mongolia and Russia Mongolia and Singapore Mongolia and South Korea Mongolia and Taiwan Mongolia and the world Mongolia and Tibet Mongolia and Turkey Mongolia and UK Mongolia and Ukraine Mongolia and UN Mongolia and USA Mongolia and Vietnam Mongolia Banking Mongolia civic society Mongolia crime Mongolia diplomacy Mongolia Economy Mongolia Education Mongolia Energy Mongolia Finance Mongolia Health Mongolia History Mongolia holiday Mongolia in international media Mongolia Industries Mongolia Joke Mongolia law Mongolia LGBT Mongolia medical Mongolia military Mongolia Mining Mongolia Mining Developments Mongolia Mortgage Mongolia natural disaster Mongolia Petroleum Mongolia public announcements Mongolia railways Mongolia Religion Mongolia society Mongolia Sports Mongolia Stamp Mongolia telecommunication Mongolia tourism Mongolia Urbanization Mongolia Wild Life Mongolian Agriculture Mongolian Archeology Mongolian Food Mongolian Gay Mongolian Government news Mongolian History Mongolian Military Mongolian Mining Development Mongolian Movie Mongolian News Mongolian Parliament Mongolian Political news Mongolian Press Mongolian Songs Mongolian Women Mongolian Youth Mongolians abroad Moninfo Opinion Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement Photo news Press Release Rio Tinto Tavan Tolgoi coal mine Ulaanbaatar development Weird expatriates in Mongolia

Blog Archive

Followers

Live Traffic