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.”
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.