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P.Munkhsaikhan: Talent is like hair braided with three stands

Trans. by B.DULGUUN

 The following is an interview with Head of Ulaanbaatar Ensemble and “Rock Monster” P.Munkhsaikhan.

You’ve been the head of Ulaanbaatar Ensemble for a year now. How is it to work as the head?

I worked for many years as a director. Directors have to be excellent organizers. The sector I’m currently working in is still the arts and cultural sector. Therefore, there isn’t much of a difference. Certainly, my responsibilities have gotten bigger since I have to execute government work and operate with tax money. Still, artists have always had great responsibilities. When the curtains of the stage open at six o’clock, actors and actresses have to be ready, regardless of whether they’ve gotten a role.

Has the management and policy of Ulaanbaatar Ensemble been changed?

We will portray Ulaanbaatar from all aspects. For instance, mainly national arts performances will be produced for foreign visitors and tourists while new productions and performances are produced for locals. “Uilsiin Saikhan Ulaanbaatar” musical will be performed for three days from October 27 to 29. The Grand Prix winner of Universe Best Songs, Ts.Telmuun, will be the protagonist. “First Kiss” musical will be performed once more next month. We are organizing a series of live music concerts. The majority of people think rock concerts are featured on open stages with drunken audiences. When rock concerts are performed in concert halls, all the attention is put on the music and gives off a completely different feel. This type of performance is enjoyed by real music lovers, not by someone pretending to be a modern person.

Ulaanbaatar Ensemble consists of mainly folk artists, such as long singers, circus performers and national dancers, but recent musicals are being performed by famous young singers. How do fellow members of the ensemble feel about this?

Artists easily understand each other. Our ensemble members accepted this concept with a round of applause. They don’t always listen to folk music. Most members are graduates of the Music and Dance College of Mongolia or the Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture. We’re preparing to stage ethnic compositions, combining national music with modern styles. For example, “Ariun Khavriin Takhilga” (The Rite of Spring) ballet to be launched next month is being choreographed by D.Enkhgerel and D.Altangerel is composing the music. This production will be performed to a national music accompaniment. “Khukhuu Namjil” opera will be produced in an ethnic style. Only multi-talented artists who can sing, dance and act can surpass senior artists.

What does Ulaanbaatar Ensemble aspire towards?

Mongolia has four buildings used for theatrical performances s and one of them is Ulaanbaatar Ensemble. We want to transform the ensemble into a musical theater and promote musical performances in Mongolia. Most people aren’t aware of Mongolian musicals and it’s understandable. Major international musicals aren’t announced by the media. We’re planning to perform eight musicals within two years. Although musicals will not develop that easily, artists will learn to perform musicals, which is a huge achievement.

Can you elaborate on these musicals?

We wrote scripts together with a young artist named Nipon. I saw that South Korea nominates its best drama series. Screenplays that conquer many viewers are written by young writers. They are observant and use simple language. I enjoyed reading poems written by Nipon. People who understand philosophy see the deeper side of daily life. Some people criticized our musicals for having simple language. Music is abstract, so expressions used in musicals have to be close to real life. When listening to music, one person will envision an ocean while another envisions space.

The general director of Ulaanbaatar Ensemble is Oleg Yumov, right?

Despite his young age, he is a promising director who has received the Buryat State Award and Gold Mask Award. He directed at the Black Box Theater for three years. We both graduated from St. Petersburg State Academy of Theatrical Arts, so we practically understand each other through eye contact.

Have you directed any plays?

I’ve directed “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Bardam Tuulai” (Proud Rabbit) and “Two Soum” at the Mongolian State Academic Drama Theater. During difficult times for theaters, when the society changed, I hosted the “Triangle” music program on MNB and was the first VJ (announcer for commercial music television stations).

You’ve hosted TV shows, directed films and composed music and written lyrics. Which work did you enjoy doing the most?

I have many things I like. As a hobby, I like playing guitar. People say that they have a profession because they’ve got a diploma for studying in school. For me, a diploma is a certificate for showing that I can do a specific task; just proof that I graduated from a school. There are many people who do something professionally without diplomas. A person’s lifestyle can be determined by the works they enjoy. People do the things they like wholeheartedly and exceptionally. For example, a banker who enjoys extreme sports may not be afraid of risks.

Old songs transcend time and are enjoyed by many. Modern songs only last for a month, season or a year. Why is that so?

Many years ago, rock and pop bands produced all sorts of music. Only a select few remain today. In the future, only the best of current compositions will last.

Lately, Mongolian artists refuse to hold big concerts and organize small concerts in bars. Is this connected to the economic crisis?

Artists are divided into two categories; those who became famous thanks to sponsorship and those who became famous thanks to fans. Artists who can fill a concert hall with audiences and reach people’s hearts are much stronger than artists with sponsorship. Let’s say Ulaanbaatar has 1,500,000 residents, one percent of them equals 15,000 people. Just to conquer the hearts of a percentage of the total city residents and make them listen, all concert tickets will have to be sold out. Pretenders who follow those 15,000 loyal fans will come along.

Mongolia has many up and coming artists. While some are truly in love with the arts, others are active temporarily, just long enough to become popular. In your opinion, are there any promising and talented artists who will produce many things in the future?

You can define talent as braided hair plaited and intertwined with three stands. God given ability, luck and hard work make up talent. There are artists who work hard but don’t have the ability. In contrast, are those who learn things quickly and have the ability but are lazy. Luck depends on whether you were born in the right place at the right time. For instance, if there is a talented singer, that person will be able to produce something great if composers and songwriters who can compose songs and lyrics suited for their voice are present at the same time and age. Prodigies, on the other hand, aren’t controlled by money, time or anything else. If a violin prodigy is born, music will find that child on its own. Someone that great would be able to make a violin even from a log. Currently, I don’t see any Mongolian prodigies, but there are many talented artists. Only the audience will assess them and make them into stars. Not me. No matter how great or talented someone is, they will not be valued or be recognized if no one knows about them. Audiences play a big role in raising artists.

Assets of the world’s wealthiest artist are comparatively pitiful next to the assets of the 100 best businessmen. But conquering thousands of people in stadiums is more valuable than anything. History written by celebrities is greater than the tallest building on earth.

Another thing I’d like to point out is that Mongolia doesn’t seem to support or encourage up and coming artists. When a young artist is suggested for a performance, organizers neglect them and choose someone more reputable who’s been in the field for a longer time. Old songs are good but they’re already being listened to. It seems that the tendency to opt for old things is more dominant in Mongolia. I fear that there’s a group that wishes to oppress new generations. In the press and media, it says that we have to reminisce about great artists since they’ve accomplished these things and are now living like this. People say if you give new artists some attention, they’ll become arrogant. Russians don’t see this as arrogance, instead it is valued, as it portrays their self-confidence and individuality. Mongolia destroys their self-confidence and tries to tear down their individuality. New artists should be encouraged, supported and promoted.

 

Source: http://entertainment.mongolnews.mn /1c6y

 

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=12304

Posted by on Oct 28 2014. Filed under Prime Interview. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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