T.Bilguun: I feel the beauty of nature in my heart when I close my eyes and sing khuumii.
Here is a brief interview with throat singer, T.Bilguun, who is only 13 years old. He is studying at 7th General Education School and he sings khuumii (throat singing) as a professional artist. He took part in the 35th anniversary celebration concert, “Friendship” at the International Center and promoted the Mongolian ethnic art.
-Nowadays, teenagers and youth are mostly interested in rock and pop music, and they do not admire traditional art. You drew our attention, as you’ve chosen to study khuumii, which is one of the most challenging ethnic art forms. When did you start throat singing?
-I learned throat singing when I was ten. My grandfather sang khuumii when he was young. He told me about the amazing art of khuumii, and from that time, I fell in love with khuumii. Then I became a student of Odsuren at the Mongolian State University of Art and Culture.
-You assisted in the “Gegeen alsiin odod” festival with khuumii. Are there children singing khuumii besides you? Did critics of the festival give you advice?
-I was the only child who participated in khuumii. Critics complimented me, saying that I was the only child performing khuumii. Pop diva and singer, B.Sarantuya, told me, “You have a very nice and gentle vision”.
-Throat singers says that they feel like they are on a steppe with a beautiful mountain and river while singing khuumii. Where are you when you sing?
-I feel the beauty of nature in my heart when I close my eyes and sing khuumii. My grandfather is from Selenge province. I go to my grandfather’s home, and herd sheep and ride horses every summer. I see all those things when I sing khuumii. I think every Mongolian has the responsibility to learn and know about traditional arts and teach them to their children. It is wonderful if I teach khuumii or traditional art to my children. Isn’t it? I am also interested in morin khuur (horse-head fiddle). I have been learning morin khuur under the guidance of Khurelbaatar at the Mongolian Children’s Palace. Now I am just a amateur. I am trying to improve my skills at playing morin khuur and singing khuumii in the future.
-What is important to singing khuumii?
-In my opinion, your stomach must be full to sing khuumii. Because singing khuumii requires taking a breath from your abdomen. If you are hungry when you sing khuumii, your stomach will gurgle [laughing].
-You sang khuumii when you were hungry. Did the sound of your throat change?
-The sound of my throat came out little bit different. But I don’t know exactly because I am not a professional.
-What other kinds of performing art do you like?
-I study beat box. I think I am good at beat boxing.
-Is it difficult to beat box when you are hungry?
-Beat boxing is different from khuumii. Being hungry is OK. Khuumii is a very hard art form.
-Did your parents say anything when you started to learn khuumii?
-First they told me, you cannot sing khuumii. I begged them, over and over again. Then they allowed me to learn khuumii and I had a teacher.
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