Batzorig Vaanchig is a renowned Tuvan throat singer who often plays at venues with the Mongolian folk music group called Khusugtun. In this video, however, he performs from an intimate setting – his home in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. And the musician who accompanies him is is daughter, Marla.
They sing a lovely traditional song about strong and fast horses, a popular subject given the long history of horses among nomadic peoples. Vaanchig’s singing is extremely unique and has to be heard to be appreciated.
Throat singing is one of the world’s oldest forms of music. Tuvan throat singing originates in northwestern Mongolia. According to the Folkways website, “Singers use a form of circular breathing which allows them to sustain multiple notes for long periods of time.”
Singers begin apprenticing when they are children and the singing often imitate sounds of the natural world. This can include animals, the winds that sweep the Mongolian steppe.
For this song, Marla plays an instrument that sounds like horses hooves and Vaanchig plays a Horsehead Fiddle (morin khuur).
With their throat-singing, Tuvans imitate sounds of the natural surroundings—animals, mountains, streams, and the harsh winds of the steppe. It is captivating, as you’ll hear for yourself in the video below.
For those interested, some of Vaanchig’s music is available on Amazon.