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People Are Talking: UMS Presents AnDa Union at the Michigan Theater

Posted: 11/9/11 -- 12:08 am

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avatar by Lisa Murray

Tell us what you thought! This is the place to comment on the performance and talk to other people about what you saw and heard.  Don’t forget to click the option to be notified when new comments are posted.

Lisa Murray is the Manager of Foundation & Government Grants for UMS.

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  • avatar

    If you’re at all on the fence about attending tonight’s AnDa Union performance, I can tell you first hand that you don’t want to miss it. I had the opportunity to see their youth performance this afternoon and was blown away – by the sounds they can produce with their voices, by the staggering realism of their nature sounds, and by the tunefulness of their music. Perhaps what impressed me the most was that the performance was so much fun.

    AnDa Union’s program bills their singing as “a traditional type of Mongolian overtone singing that replicates the sound of nature.” After seeing them perform live, I can safely say that this is an understatement: there were many times during the concert where I could easily hear the neighing of horses, the wind whistling through the trees, the galloping of hundreds of hooves. Other times, I found myself surprised that, despite the group’s foreign costumes and instruments, they were extremely relatable. Their music, with its literal titles (“Drinking Song” or “Galloping Horses”), speaks to a time and place where people tend their pastures instead of their facebook feeds, coexisting with not only the environment but with each other, peacefully and happily. You can hear it in the boisterousness of the drinking song, the excitement of one thousand horses riding across the grasslands.

    On top of this, I was amazed at the flexibility of their voices. Overtone singing – singing more than one note at once – is impressive on its own, but AnDa Union utilizes it to sing two distinct melodies at the same time. Many times during the performance, I caught myself searching the stage for a flutist playing the high melody, only to realize that it was a result of the lower melody being sung. The result is truly phenomenal, at once exotic and intimately familiar, and certainly time well spent.

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  • Sigalhemi, I just returned from tonight’s performance and could not agree more with your remarks. This performance made me feel as if i was in these unfamiliar grasslands of Mongolia. However, AnDa Union’s charming manner along with their creation of sounds replicating natural phenomena made these grasslands beautifully familiar.
    The overtone singing kept me searching for new instruments only to find that one person could be singing a variety of notes at one time. The song Holy Mountain featured one man (Chinggel?) playing moadin chor out of the side of his mouth while throat singing two notes. This created a beautifully enrapturing one person band.
    Galloping horses sounded exactly as the name calls to mind, multiplied by the performers’ dynamic movement and the carved horse head of the fiddle they played. This morin huur, or horse headed fiddle, creates the perfect whinny for the song.

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  • avatar

    I’m from north China. The performance tonight is excellent! Anda Union is the best!

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  • avatar

    I couldn’t agree more with both Fiona and Sigalhemi! I was really looking forward to the AnDa Union performance this evening, and I was not let down. What an incredible show!! I was completely blown away, and can’t wait to introduce their music to all of my friends. Thanks UMS for bringing AnDa to Ann Arbor!

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  • I agree! I can feel the wind blowing across the grasslands when they sing, or see a young man riding out thinking of a beautiful girl. The music is lovely, and the range of sounds a singer produces is amazing.

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  • avatar

    My husband and I get tickets to several shows each year and enjoy UMS events. I, in particular, enjoy world music and enjoy other cultures and languages and have as my close and personal friends people of many nationalities.

    I have been disturbed, however, by some world music concerts during the past few years. On several occasions, a choice has been made for the performers to not speak any word of English and to not offer any translation. These performers often have a wide base of followers who fill the auditorium. We who are not of that culture do not understand the conversation and sit outside of the conversation. Not only does this diminish our experience as an audience but I find it quite disrespectful towards the culture and country that they are visiting as guest performers.

    As an opposite example, I attended the AnDa Union recently and they were open, friendly, and engaging……inclusive towards their American audience and host. And it was wonderful hearing the traditional throat singing and music.

    I am making the suggestion that an interpreter be available to translate the thoughts shared by the performers……..if the performer does not want to speak English him/herself. I am thinking of two performers in particular, each shared one sentence in fluent English during their concert and spoke in length throughout the remainder of the concert in their own language exclusively and exclusively to the members of their own culture in the audience. This is disturbing.

    Also: it seems that in the world music genre, there has been a move toward bringing in pop artists who have a large following in their own culture but who are not presenting the ancient/traditional sounds of their historical music. If this is the continuing trend, I will unfortunately elect to not attend this category of performances in the future.

    I will continue to attend and enjoy UMS events in other categories.

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