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N.Purevdash: Competency and friendship are our secret for longevity

By B.DULGUUN

This year is the 25th anniversary of Mongolian rock band Kharanga. Each members of the band will perform a solo concert to celebrate the occasion. Tonight, on June 13, Kharanga’s drummer N.Purevdash will hold his concert at the UB Palace.

N.Purevdash is the President of Mongolian Drummers Association and has been a percussionist for 43 years. The following interview highlights his musical career and solo concert.

 

Your concert will take place soon. Are you feeling nervous or are you more concerned about the quality of the concert?

There’s nothing to be nervous about. I’m only concerned about satisfying my fans and throwing a good show for my audience. We’re employees of a service organization. Since I’m a professional drummer, I’m not worried about the things that are dependent on me. Kharanga has been performing together for a long time. There’s nothing to fear as we can understand each other just by our looks and small gestures. However, I’m paying more attention on preparation work for performances with other artists.

Is this the first large-scale drum show in Mongolia? How will it be different from other concerts?

I’m doing this concert together with percussion instrument instructor of the Music and Dance College of Mongolia B.Zorigt and his students, drummer of Soyol Erdene band Tsolmon, and many more drummers of different bands. I want to prove to everyone that I really am a professional drummer and hold it dear in my heart. There are performances infusing hip hop and trance music beats with rock music. Dancers of Ezen Khan Theater will also make an appearance.

Most fans usually recognize vocalists and guitarists of rock bands but drummers do not attract as much attention. Do you feel it’s just something you have to accept?

No. As long as our band music reaches the hearts of the people, it doesn’t matter. Vocalists and guitarists are positioned near the front in the spotlight, whereas drummers are situated further back under dim lights and when our pictures are taken, it’s usually rather blurry and out of focus. There’s no band that has their drummer at the front in the world history. If they do that, weird sounds will come out from microphones and speakers.

What’s the secret of your band’s longevity? Is it perhaps good friendship?

It is, but Kharanga wouldn’t have existed if we only depended on our friendship and were incompetent as musicians. In order to reach success, we have to be talented and skilled. Unskilled bands will be rejected by the people in due course. We can’t get dragged down by bad musicians all our lives. Good fellowship will be created if talented people gather together, agree with one another and aim for one specific goal.

How difficult was it to find one another or was your meeting brought by fate?

It wasn’t destiny or fate. We befriended many people and selected only the best. After working for eight years in orchestral wind chimes sample together and overcoming many hardships, Oogii, Chuka, Manlai and I found each other and became an steadfast band. Later, Chuka introduced Lhagvasuren and we just had to recruit him as he had amazing vocals just like Gantumur.

Do you sing?

What’s the use in singing next to an amazing singer and composing songs next to great composers? I’ll just be a good drummer. I’ll provide the conditions for my band members to perform and sing, and I try to be like a tank to back them up.

In your opinion, what is friendship?

Everything except from the fact that people will be born and die, is false. Infants from ages one to three are pure but afterwards, they start to lie. No matter how good a man may be, he can’t escape from this quality. They should be intelligent when lying.

Mongolia has many live music bands and events such as Play Time Festival attest to this. Why aren’t there more bands like Kharanga, which infatuates others, being formed by younger musicians?

After A-Sound band, many similar bands with jingling vocals started to multiply like mushrooms that grow after a rain. Bluntly, young people aren’t working or making any effort. They just want to make it as easy as possible. Maybe they don’t want to entertain.

You produced Solongo band, right? Can you talk about this?

We produced Solongo band with three graduates of the Music and Dance College of Mongolia. We went through many troubles to select members, to buy instruments for them and have instructor Sukhee from Bayanmongol Ensemble train them. We aimed to produce a world-renowned Mongolian band but it wasn’t successful. Kids nowadays are so messy trying to find money for only tomorrow’s needs.

What is your dream?

I don’t have any interest in teaching someone else’s children as my current work hasn’t had fruitful results. I’ve already made my dreams come true with my band Kharanga. My current objective is to create an easily comprehended theoretical and practical training book or an album for amateur drummers.

How did social changes affect Kharanga as a band?

Kharanga was established under the supervision of the State Academic Drama Theater in 1989 and became independent in 1990. Despite the fact that the society was facing crisis and food shortage at the time, we didn’t pay attention to our households and instead sang every irreverent song with explicit language and contents. People who have endless dedication and love for music never are concerned about these sorts of small issues.

As a professional in this field, what makes drums special from other instruments?

A drummer adjusts sounds and rhythms of songs and provides conditions for vocalists to sing and other musicians to play their instruments. Each song has its own rhythm. Even when playing 20 songs, they all have different rhythms. If songs are adjusted and sang at a wrong tempo, vocalists will struggle and tire quickly. If the music sounds correct, artists will be able to become emotional and show their full potential, without any distractions.

During wartimes, Mongolians used to beat drums as loud as possible in order to give courage to soldiers, to signal troops during battle and to frighten enemies. Some people say that this was how it originated. How do you think drums were created?

Ever since the birth of human kind, they started to make weapons and tools with wood and rocks to find food. After all, we’re humans so we all sing, cry and dance. Drums were probably created around the time when people wanted to make everyone sing and have fun together by doing some sort of an activity by beating wood or rocks.  Like so, drums were introduced all around the world through all sorts of means and took its current form.

How many drums do you have?

Since people have endless greed, there were many instances when I bought new drums before the previous one became old and rusty. I have eight complete drum sets. It’s troublesome to take huge drums to every concert; therefore, I only use them in big or special events like band anniversaries.

Do you remember what the first piece you learned to play on the drum was?

In 1971, I participated in a five year training course for military drummers in the music branch of the People’s Military Class No. 013. I learned five famous waltz pieces including the Autumn Dream. Even members of the famous German band, Rammstein, were all military musicians. Military drumming is powerful and sharp so it’s closer to rock music.

Who was your first instructor?

It was Mr. Vasely who graduated from the percussion instrument’s class of the Military Music Academy of Tchaikovsky. Thanks to his proper training for hand and foot techniques, despite turning 60, I’m still healthy and well. If it’s learnt incorrectly, there are risks of getting hydronephrosis (enlarged kidneys) and tendon damages.

Is it true that there’s a connection between you and the story that inspired the song Suulchiin Shunu (The last night)?

A big businessman named Chuka asked me to write a song for him. He said his beloved got into in accident at dawn on her journey to meet him.

 

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=9802

Posted by on Jun 12 2014. Filed under Топ мэдээ. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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