Hanggai @ Asagiri Jam – It’s A Beautiful Day! (Oct. 13th, 2013)

Chance meetings, universal truths
Live Report – “Chance meetings, universal truths” @ Asagiri Jam – It’s A Beautiful Day! 2013.10.13


On the dot at 11am the scattered crowd was greeted with a booming “good morning” from the Moon Shine stage, sending everyone dashing towards it faster than a pack of dogs at feeding time. As the hungry fans gathered, Hanggai gave them what they wanted and yet it still wasn’t enough.

So on they went singing and dancing and drinking—and the crowd followed obediently.

HanggaiTheir songs of the open steppes of Mongolia—riding across the grasslands and the people there—may not be the most relatable lyrical topics, and yet the crowd was bouncing, swaying and cheering through every single song. Even in between songs, when front man Ilchi explained what they were about. But, let’s face it: he can tell us the content, but few will even be able to sing the words, let alone spell the title correctly without a set list in hand. But that’s the beauty of Hanggai, and the music they make. Understanding the words doesn’t matter. We can still feel their power through the guttural song, or we can let our brains rest and just feel the melody envelope us. Or, in the case of the infamous “Drinking Song”, shout “kampai” as loudly and often as possible, then chug down that brew. It certainly worked for Ilchi and his gang. And hey, when Mongolian punk folk bands visit, it would be rude not to follow their customs. Right?

HanggaiTowards the end, Ilchi became more fired up as he drank and he sang. “Go to the Mongolian grasslands!” he encouraged. Everyone cheered and raised their glasses—but at that point he had them so revved up he could have shouted “Let’s go hang out at the local garbage dump!” and people would have responded with equal enthusiasm.

Finally, the party had to come to an end, and Ilchi announced their last song was a very important one. It was about meeting someone and not knowing when you would see them again. We in in the crowd too do not know the next time we’ll see Hanggai again, but we made sure to make the most of that one chance opportunity while it was there. The final song was a bitter-sweet farewell, but with it we were left with a wealth of precious memories from the briefest of encounters. And possibly a blistering headache the next day.


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