Archive for March, 2013

Mongolian Bling – Discovering the Roots of Hip Hop in the Heart of Asia

Mongolian Bling Logo

I tend to write about specific bands/music acts that I find inspiring or unique, however, today’s Music Monday blog will feature an international music movement. Recently, I found myself on Youtube and thought it would be interesting to pick a random country and type “hip hop” after said country. I thought it would be clever to type in Mongolia – a mysterious land with an interesting history and the last place I figured hip hop would find itself.

Boy was I wrong.

In fact, this country is utilizing the hip-hop culture in more ways than just to acquire chains, strippers, and to “pop bottles”. Many of the young artists use this music as a means to carry a message to the youth in a time of transition and economical and political struggle. On the same token, there are artists that have been accused of “selling out” or being superficial, but here in the States, we’re used to that.

In order to put this movement in perspective, a team of people have put together a documentary on some of the artists front-running this genre, looking at the artists up close and personal – in the studio, in their homes, on their first tours, and even on the street. The film project has spawned interest worldwide and has even evolved into a 2-week Mongolian trip for tourists who want to meet the artists, see Mongolia first-hand, and learn about the culture and the hip-hop movement from the artists and community figures themselves. In a time when hip-hop needs to be used as a positive tool, we find that many popular “hip-hop” artists send negative messages to those who need inspiration most. It was refreshing to discover this film.

It’s raw, real, and exotic, yet maintains the ancient traditions that have enriched the culture over generations. It’s Mongolian Bling.

Here’s their summary and trailer. Enjoy.

Forget about nomads and monks! It’s hip hop that’s making Mongolia move in the 21st century. Mongolian Bling jumps into the thriving music scene in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, and follows stars as they rap nationwide with their bitches, cars, and jewels. But beyond this bling lies a failed democracy, and a dying ancient culture that the elders mourn the loss of. While many artists still aspire to the West, a handful are using hip hop to try and salvage their country’s flailing democracy, and bringing Mongolia’s rich musical history into their modern beats and rhymes.

Behind the scenes photos:
Crush Boys

Mongolian Bling

Queen Gennie

Gennie Underground – (note the 2pac poster in the background)

Arslan playing in a ger

Shaman

Altan Urag live (swine flu curfew over)!!

Dance For a Cure Bellydance Competition – 2013 – First Place!

Dance For a Cure Bellydance Competition - 2013 - First Place!

Wow. So I conquered my fears of competition and went through with it. I got first place and I didn’t know what to do with myself when they announced it. It was sort of a bashful shuffle with a giggle involved.
All the dancers were beautiful and so supportive and the turnout was incredible. I mean, the energy put off by hundreds of women dancing and celebrating is SO intense and it was a honor to win at this event.
In honor of both of my grandmas and my mother experiencing cancer first-hand, I was elated to see this charity event come together and be a success. Thank you everyone for the support and kind words for the shared love of dance and helping others!

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