Overtone Music Network

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Footprints in Mongolia; Project and documentary-film about traditional Mongolian vocal music

"Mongol Khoomii" (монгол хоомий, throat- or overtone singing) is a traditional vocal art from west-Mongolia. It is also a cultural heritage in need of protection (UNESCO 2010). In an expedition we follow two cousins who walk over 1800 kilometers to discover the world behind this unique music. Mongolia is a developing country, and currently most of the (professional) singers reside in the capital, Ulaanbaatar; a growing and rapidly westernizing city. What will happen with a traditional art, if it floats around in a modernizing city such as Ulaanbaatar?

With this question in mind two cousins begin their journey through Mongolia. They carry a tovshuur, a two-stringed traditional Mongolian banjo used to accompany the singer's voice while singing their music. It is their mission to meet a wide variety of throat singers and collect their songs with the help of this instrument. After 1800 kilometers they will arrive at Chandmani, a small village in west-Mongolia, said to be the birthplace of "khoomii". After finally arriving here, the cousins will hand over their instrument to a music teacher in this village, a symbolic gift to show everyone how important it is to pay special attention to protecting a cultural heritage such as this one.

It is important to know that we are not against modernization of music, we support all Mongolian throat singers who experiment with using their voice in jazz, hip-hop or rock music. However, we hope to raise an awareness and interest in protecting the traditional art, before it is too late. There are many old singers and story tellers who lack the opportunity to share their music with enough people. Many young singers, on the other hand, grow up in a world full of (modern) music.

Discover a musical world unknown to many people in the world, although probably not so unknown to most of you, fellow overtone singers. This music should be shared with everyone who has even the tiniest interest in unique musical arts. With our film we will give many singers, young and old, the oppurtunity to share their music with the rest of the world.

Mongolia is not just the "land of the blue sky and epic stories". It is so much more. Their music is the direct proof of that. And should therefore get the oppurtunity to be seen in an easy to watch, enjoyable and overall creative documentary. We find visuals as important as the message, and should never be a drag to watch! This project and film will be for everyone interested in (traditional world) music and the culture which it surrounds. For everyone who likes to explore unique arts, and especially for all of those who find it important to collect a wide variety of traditional music from Mongolia.

If you feel connected to our goal, if you feel in any way inspired by this project please read more information and watch videos on our official website. If you really feel like helping us, please talk with us or make a contribution on our official campaign page to push our project in to the right direction.

Campaign page: http://www.indiegogo.com/footprints-in-mongolia
And find us on Facebook

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Comment by Jens Mügge on December 1, 2010 at 9:21pm
Hi Rowan, thanks a lot for this blog news. I read the indiegogo Terms of Service and think that it would be easier to support this project directly via PayPal. Sometimes I used betterplace.org to ask for monetary donation - but I made some strange experiences. Therefore I prefer the direct way. But you `ll do the right thing with indiegogo. Have you checked kickstarter.com that could be another good fundraising site! Stay tuned, Jens


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