I can't get any of my videos to load, but I am using some seriously creaky technology that I am using illictly from a hotel I just walked in, so I can't really complain too much.

But I can get some pictures up, here are some I said I'd post, one of Otgunjav playing in full regalia in my kitchen

and the other of Jontsan playing the very obscure shuur, which kind of says it all since you can see his mohawk. Actually what captures at least one slice of life in modern Mongolia the video I have of him on another day wearing a Cleveland Indians shirt, a mohawk, and throat singing.

There is a three day Buyrat festival going on at the Culture Palace right across from my apartment, so there are hundreds of Buyrats wandering around in very elaborate deels and the distinctive Buyrat pointed hat, and, better yet, there is a two day long Buyrat singing contest. This was definitely for Buyrats only, the announcing was all in Buyrat, and there were no tourists there. Buyrats are from northern Mongolia and Siberia, so there as quite a bit of Russian being spoken too.

I think it would have been a bit relentless for anyone not really fascinated by this stuff, that is for sure. Everybody sings two songs, one acapella and one with band. The bands ranged from a five or six piece band to a single morin khuur, or a morin khuur and a flute, and in a few very Russian-influenced cases, the accordion. Some of the singing was amazing, but I can't load the video unfortunately. I spent several hours there yesterday and today and I can say that Buyrat music really does sound the same. I'm just kidding, (I am, after all, an old time musician) but it was definitely a uniform sound. I could hum many of the tunes after hearing the same songs over the course of the two days so I am planning to at least come away with some Buyrat tunes under my belt. They were handing out song books too. I know almost nothing about the music and having consulted with an ethnomusicologist here studying Buyrat shamans, there apparently has not been much study of them in English (more so in Russian) so it is not really a surprise.

I'm off to the countryside tomorrow and should have some good pictures from that, very excited to be getting out of the city and see the endless steppe!


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