Amyrai is a beautiful piece of music originally composed, performed and recorded in 2011 by Altai Kai, a highly-regarded ensemble of throat singers from the Altai Republic (North West from Mongolia). The “Altai” are spectacular mountains in this remote border region. “Kai” are various styles of Mongolian throat-singing: velvety kargyraa (the lowest style of throat-singing), mesmerizing khoomei (middle range throat singing), and melodic sygyt (highest range throat-singing).
I first heard Altai Kai’s beautiful music whilst on a long road trip in Mongolia in 2016. Dugarjav Bilguun always had the best music playing on his car’s CD player, as we travelled the long journeys from here to there. It was he who introduced me to both traditional and contemporary Mongolian music … in Mongolia, it is often difficult to distinguish between the two … He also introduced me to incredible musicians along the way. I will forever be grateful to L.Bilguun for this gift. It’s only recently that musicians from this part of our world have begun streaming their music. If you subscribe to Spotify, and would like to listen to Altai Kai’s original composition and this style of throat singing, go to Amyran (Amyr Akchin Style Of Singing).
Not being a talented throat singer myself … she laughs … I’ve created a simplified cover version of Altai Kai’s original for solo piano. I’ve retained the same key and core harmonic palette, but have explored using minor 9th voicings for their indeterminacy, and a particular style of accompaniment in the left hand so as to bring to mind, to imagine, snow-capped mountains and the echoes of sound passing between them.
This etude is for Khurelbaatar Enkhbaatar.
Go to: Amyrai (piano version) on You Tube
© 2023. CP in Mongolia. This post is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Documents linked from this page may be subject to other restrictions. Posted: 28 March 2023. Last updated: 28 March 2023.