How do we reinvigorate and make more personal a beautiful musical composition, when just listening to the original is so deeply evocative of one’s own long journeys to caravanserais* past?
Whilst the outflow of a musical arrangement for piano of other Mongolian songs has been easier for me to manifest, this one has certainly taken its time! However, early one morning whilst improvising on the piano, I mistakenly shifted from common time to waltz time. Et voila! Ideas began to flow from there.
Never gossip about people not here
Never poke fun at those who may be suffering
Never just dismiss a country’s treasures
Never disrespect the heart-beliefs of others (ZDR, 2 August 2023)
There have been a number of pivotal “for the first time/s …” in my small life’s journey. The following is an example of one of them. In August 2004, Mongolian Guru Deva Rinpoche (Honorary Consulate of Mongolia in Nepal) and Tibetan Lama Ganchen Rinpoche (World Peace Foundation, a United Nations NGO) organised for the first time in post-soviet socialist Mongolia, an exhibition-tour of sacred Buddhist relics from Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka starting at the State Academic Theatre of Drama and Ballet (now the National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet) in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. The accompanying International entourage was multi-denominational and multi-cultural.
Where there is encounter, transformation ensues. (Ganchen NgalSo)
This was my first visit to Mongolia. I was invited to attend the official ceremonies and the whirlwind tour across the vast Mongolian steppe that followed. In many respects, this is where my participative study of Mongolian Gelugpa Buddhism and Mongolian culture began.
In memory of TYS Gangchen Tulku Rinpoche (1941-2020).
More Background Notes
*Most of us are familiar with caravanserais: hosted stops along trade routes such as the two ancient Silk Roads. In today’s Mongolia, scattered in the four cardinal directions across the vast steppe far away from turbulent UB, these important location-specific social hubs continue to materialise; purposefully, and at times spontaneously manifesting, to serve a range of important catalytic, ameliorating, social, cultural and transient economic functions.
Whilst this photo-journalist-style essay draws from my 2004 archive, over the past two decades I have observed how such events continue to provide a locale for the exchange of goods, ideas and culture/s between generous Mongolian-in-Mongolia hosts, their international invited guests and serendipitous others. The journey continues.
Let’s Return to the Music!
From the Mongolian Ejel Gansam translates as Song for the Long Awaited Friend.
Originally by Mongolian-Buryat Shono Band (Honkoroi Vol.2 Compilation of Siberian World Music (2016, Yurta Music), members include Alexander Arkhincheev‘s throat singing vocals, moriin khuur, tsoor, sukha and huur; Evguenia Tomitova on yataga; Konstatin Tokarsky on drums and Vladimir Sidorov on vocals bass guitar and vargan.
🎧 Original (2016): https://open.spotify.com/track/4g4OUiNuOBxsHAucLrn5V1?si=1a984d38fe504aad
🎧 Cover version (2023): Ejel Gansam (arr. piano) 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: 2 August 2023. Last updated: 16 October 2023.