Mongolian jazz kicks off Town Hall’s “Global Rhythms” series

Horse head fiddle player and throat singer Davaazorig Altangerel performs as part of Mongolian orchestra Agra Bileg at Town Hall last Friday. (Photo by Aida Solomon)
Horse head fiddle player and throat singer Davaazorig Altangerel performs with Mongolian ethno-jazz band Agra Bileg at Town Hall last Friday. (Photo by Aida Solomon)

The stage at Town Hall was dimly lit last Friday in anticipation of a fusion sound of Western jazz and Mongolian traditional folk music never before heard in Seattle.

Agra Bileg, a musical group hailing from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, kicked off the “Global Rhythms” series at Town Hall with a night of ethno-jazz music played with both traditional Mongolian and Western instruments.

The group of seven travel around the world playing at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, the National Grand Theater in Beijing, and the Vienna Philharmonic. Mixing contemporary jazz with a Mongolian touch created an energy that compelled standing ovations from the audience after each song.

The crowd that turned out to see Agra Bileg included quite a few members of the Northwest’s small Mongolian American community.

According to Brian Faker, curator of the Global Rhythms series, it’s important to bring seemingly foreign acts like Agra Bileg to Seattle because they often reflect a culture that’s shared by a surprising number of people in our region.

“This is an opportunity to reveal to ourselves the community that lives here,” speaking of the Mongolian population in Seattle. “What music and global arts remind [us] is who is here.”

The Global Rhythms series will continue with four more shows scheduled throughout 2014-15 including music from Iran, Hawaii, and even Texas.

It all wraps up in May with a what is sure to be an unforgettable performance by the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre of Saigon.

You can find full list of upcoming Global Rhythms events here, and more information about Agra Bileg here

 

Munkhtogtokh Ochirkhuyag playing the Yatga a type of Mongolian zither. (Photo by Aida Solomon)
Munkhtogtokh Ochirkhuyag playing the Yatga a type of Mongolian zither. (Photo by Aida Solomon)
Three members of Agra Bileg playing the horse head fiddle. (Photo by Aida Solomon)
Three members of Agra Bileg playing the horse head fiddle. (Photo by Aida Solomon)
Pianist and composer Purevsukh Tyeliman. (Photo by Aida Solomon)
Pianist and composer Purevsukh Tyeliman. (Photo by Aida Solomon)
Agra Bileg receives one of several standing ovations during their performance at Town Hall Seattle. (Photo by Aida Solomon)
Agra Bileg receives one of several standing ovations during their performance at Town Hall Seattle. (Photo by Aida Solomon)

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