If you haven’t heard of Hanggai, you must not live in Beijing. One of the city’s — and country’s — most popular bands, it specializes in Mongolian folk music but is by no means constrained by that style. Singer Ilchi, an ethnic Mongolian, has established himself as perhaps the most famous “throat singer” in the country. Hanggai produces sounds that are both popular and inimitable, a rare combination in China, giving the band leverage over almost all others — and some international renown (check out NPR’s profile of them). The above performance at WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) international festival in 2010 is of one of its best-known songs, “Drinking Song” (酒歌). Would it surprise you to know that the album version of that piece was partly recorded while band members were drunk? It’s still great. Youku video for those in China after the jump.
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