Strongly brewed folk-rock
Here’s the lesson for today: there is more to Mongolian music than throat-singing. It would be like saying Brooklyn only produces skinny-legged indie bands or that German music stretches no further than suited-and-booted computer nerds. Hanggai are tremendous proof that there is much greater depth to the country’s musical output than previously billed. While they might be folk-rockers who enjoy a good old-fashioned wig-out, they aren’t simply a band who’ve turned their back on their homeland in pursuit of fully assimilating Western styles. They are fierce protectors of their Mongolian heritage which, they say, has been “subjected to a very strong cultural invasion by an oppressive culture”. Hence, while they reach for the electric guitars, they insist on wearing traditional dress. The message is clear. As Pitchfork observed, this is “transcendentally powerful music that anyone from anywhere can understand”. Dead right.
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