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Music, Song, and Dance of the Mongols and other Ethnic Nationalities of China
JIYA, professor of dance
ORIGAN, horse-head fiddle and throat singer
BURGED, long-necked lute and throat singer
TERGEL, dancer
MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2010

The final musical event of spring semester at the Athenaeum features singers and dancers from Minzu University (The Central University for the Nationalities) who will present music, song, and dance of the Mongols and other ethnic nationalities of China. The program includes songs of the Han Chinese, Manchus, and Peking Opera; the Chopstick Dance and the Cup Dance from the Mongols; Throat Singing (Humai) and Overtone Singing (Khoomii) also from the Mongols; and two unique instruments – the Dumbra, a long-necked lute from used by Kazakhs and other Central Asia, and the Morin Khuur (Horse-head fiddle) from Mongolia.

The traditional music and dances of Mongolia are highly distinctive for their wide range of instruments, overtone singing techniques, and forms of dancing that emphasize upper body movement. In overtone singing (Khöömii in Mongol; Changdiao in Chinese), the singer produces two vocal sounds at one time by altering the shape of their pharynx and tongue to produce multiple pitches. The horse-head fiddle (Morin Khuur in Mongol, maotoqin in Chinese), is an ancient instrument two-stringed bowed folk lute that features a horse’s head carved into its crown. It is said to produce a sound that calls to mind wild horses and the sounds of the grasslands. Mongolian dances emphasize the movement of the upper body, using the shoulders and wrist-flicks to imitate actions of animals and people on the grasslands. These dances often originated in religious rituals that expressed tribal and ethnic identity.

Don’t miss this rare and wonderful opportunity to meet these distinguished artists and to experience the artistic expression of a culture unfamiliar to many. This performance is made possible by support from the Luce Foundation, the department of history at CMC, and the Athenaeum.