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5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Audio CD (7 April 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Wrasse Records
  • ASIN: B0040NBLKQ
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 263,329 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Gobi Road
  2. Uruumdush [Mountain Top]
  3. Yuan Ding Cap
  4. Hairan Hairan
  5. Zhang Dan
  6. Cha
  7. Xiger Xiger
  8. Borulai's Lullaby
  9. Hanggai
  10. Ayrhindu
  11. Dorov Morlaril
  12. Golden Bangle
  13. Juan Zou De Ren [He Who Travels Far]
  14. Togur Jin Mountain

Product Description

Product Description

The scope of Hanggai’s music is almost as wide as the grasslands out of which they journey. Taking in the wild open spaces of Inner Mongolia and the teaming, churning streets of 21st century Beijing, Hanggai’s music embraces the looking-glass world of rock, pop and bluegrass as seen and heard by a new generation of Chinese. The six-piece Hanggai encompasses a hell of a lot of tradition, culture, fusion and folklore to produce their unique sound. With their brand new album He Who Travels Far, they continue to grow, incorporating many of the experiences that the past year of international touring has brought them. The new music features a new band member, fresh collaborations (producer Ken Stringfellow and Tom Wait’s regular collaborator guitarist Marc Ribot), fourteen new songs (many of them drawing on Mongolian traditional lyrics and melodies) and a ’live’ performance approach to the music (rather than the ’separate parts’ studio recording of their previous album).


...this follow up adds muscle to their flowing acoustics via bigger guitars and more growling 'throat singing'...
-- **** Uncut (Neil Spencer)

..its been a while since there's been some good hard rock from the grasslands...like Tinariwen Hanggai were put on this planet to revive your love for old school riffage. Embrace them!
-- MOJO ****

The second album from Hanggai, the Beijing-based Mongolian folk-rock band, pioneers of the `China-grass' scene, sees them coming of age. It follows a busy year for Hanggai with a swathe of international concerts and festival appearances, and its release coincided with a festival hosted by the band outside Beijing in September. Hanggai has teamed up with producers Ken Stringfellow and JB Meijers for this new album. It is less quirky but there are plenty of tracks on here which build on the charm of their debut, and there are more tracks here for your money.

Their reworkings of popular Chinese-Mongolian folk songs feature bluegrassy plucked Mongolian tobshuur lute and banjo. These tunes have done the rounds of revolutionary folk song and karaoke, and could be twee in lesser hands, but re-interpreted by Hanggai they are a delight. They're not afraid of cliché either. `Xiger Xiger' has some outrageous neighing guitar riffs over its galloping rhythm. When it's this obvious, you just have to laugh and jump on for the ride. There's a nod to the band's punk roots: `Ayrhindu' sounds like the Pogues with a sprinkling of Chinese opera. Hanggai don't have the same skill in overtone singing as Huun Huur Tu, but they are beginning to challenge the old Tuvan masters with their fresh take on these traditions.

© Rachel Harris -- Songlines magazine #72 - Top of the World album review

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Jan. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Hanngai are an extraordinary phenomenon. A band comprising
ethnic Mongolian and sympathetic Chinese musicians striking
out to put their stamp on a suffocated indigenous culture.
That this is their second album presupposes a greater degree
of tolerance for diversity by the current Chinese powers-that-be
than I had thought possible. Or perhaps they just haven't
noticed yet! Either way 'He Who Travels Far' is a brave bid
to preserve and honour Molgolian tradition through the use of
folk material, conventional and unorthodox instrumentation and
the unusual and distinctively gutteral delights of throat singing.

Some of the material comes curiously close to the sounds which
might come out of a Texas barn at Thanksgiving! 'Yuan Ding Cap'
and (especially) 'Zhan Dan' are built for a Western hoedown!

There are moments of extreme pathos too. 'Hai La' is a haunting
composition inhabiting a familiar folk-like ballad structure but
whose words (the meaning of which are not within my limited
linguistic grasp!) have a yearning, almost otherworldy quality.
Part of the magic is born out of unfamiliarity and uncertainty.

'Dorov Morlaril', too, with its haunting vocal drones and yelps
mixes up the exotic with raucous rock riffs to deliver a highly
unsual cocktail (The spirit of Gogol Bordello and The Pogues
seems not a million miles away!) of quasi-gothic-country-punk.

'Togur Gin Shan' brings the album to a rousing conclusion with
a sound perhaps a little like the hooves of many horses galloping
wild and free across the great grassy plains of their homeland.

Sometimes music can be a powerful tool on the road to freedom.

Highly Recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 8 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent taste of modernized Mongolian traditions. 13 Jun. 2011
By Jacob J. Debacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The lyrics to Hanggai's songs are nearly all country scenes. Snapshots of the mountains, the sunrise, the sandalwood tree. The music itself is much the same. Even the love songs and the lullabies are replete with nature imagery. "Ah, the silent pasture / emerges upon the far distant horizon / in the silent tranquility / the fragrance of milky liquor spreads through the air."

The combination of throat singing, minimal percussion, and stringed instruments both electric and acoustic make Hanggai's latest album a wonderful experience. I happened across a live show of theirs by chance and, wowed by their sonic landscapes, bought the CD. While the recorded experience is quite inferior to witnessing them live, it still manages to capture some aspects of what makes the group so special.

The songs typically fall into one of three styles (though there is much cross-over in tracks; it is not uncommon for their songs to have an introduction that is fairly dissimilar from the main body of the song). There are those that sound like traditional Chinese/Mongolian folk songs, with light percussion and lots of guitar strumming, much of which is secondary to the vocal part. Second, there is the "soundscape" style. This is dominated by bowed instruments, wood flutes, and quiet vocals. Finally, there is the percussive, electrically exciting music that allows for head-banging and meditation alike.

I can't help but see the ties between the music of Hanggai and post-rock groups like Sigur Ros (particularly with that last stylistic type). It is the undeniable eastern influence that makes the music of Hanggai unique, and wholly enjoyable for any fan of world music.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Niche music, but amazing! 13 Dec. 2012
By D. Shaver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Chances are good that if you've made it to this CD, you're aware of at least the basics of what Hanggai is... a sort of amazing fusion of Western rock with traditional Mongolian songs. It's the sort of combination that either has to succeed or fail spectacularly, and Hanggai makes it into something amazing. Three songs in particular stand out -- Xiger Xiger captures the 'fun' of what this band does; the song Hanggai (named, like the band, after the traditional steppe homeland of the Mongol people) features a bit of the long-song style throat singing that is at the core of what I, at least, as a barely-educated fan see as the inspiration behind Mongolian music, along with a more modern feel but capturing the plaintive longing for the past that fills so much of Hanggai's music; and Borulai, a traditional lullaby, is positively beautiful.
It speaks well of the music that I was already a fan just from listening to the mp3's before I got hold of this CD, but unless your Mongolian is better than mine, get the CD for the liner notes; overall, knowing what the songs are actually about really does improve the experience.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Territory of Mongolian Rock 16 May 2014
By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Why I love this album .... Mongolian peoples' music, which is found in Tuva and independent Mongolia (formerly Outer Mongolia and the Soviet Peoples Republic of Mongolia) is also found in China. Some 5 million Mongolians live in China. The Chinese province of Inner Mongolia shares the steppe grasslands, the horse-herding lifestyle, and Mongolian Buddhism of their cousins to the north and northwest. Their songs are related to nature, mountains and streams, big sky and weather, and livestock, as for centuries they underlie religion and their ethos. This album of the chiefly Inner Mongolian band (with some Han who love Mongolian instruments and folk tunes), Hanngai, is somewhat different than the modern adaptations of traditional tunes commonly available. In their third issue, Hanggai has moved further toward alternative rock with a Mongolian flavor. This owes much to their traditional instruments, as the bowed morin khuur, and harmonic and guttural throat-singing [hoomei] coupled with electric guitars and electronica and Beijing's fine recording studio magic. The 65-minute, 17-track album is richly variable in styles, with ballads, gallops, trots, a lullaby, a drinking song, and anthem-like statements, colored by nature-like sounds. Hints of Han Chinese music are also found and track 10, Ayrhindu, even has a round. The following track has electric melody and fuzz guitars and a strong rock beat...and hoomei singing: this is a remarkable global fusion sound. A tremolo strum on acoustic guitar (or is it the 2-string tobshuur lute?) soon follows. Hanggai is blazing new territory. The arrangers know their art and made a delightful, innovative album with strong riding rhythms. Giddy-up! Chu! Chu!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable first step into the steppes! 13 April 2015
By Brian Lee Gnad - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Brand new to these guys and the entire area of music. However, I greatly enjoyed this album. If the artists weren't singing in Mongolian I'd swear some of the songs were recorded in West Virginia.
Excellent stuff, they have beautiful voices and the voice music is excellent. I’ll be listening to more of their work.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good. I knew this band through a Chinese show ... 22 Mar. 2015
By moonsalon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Very good.
I knew this band through a Chinese show and fell love in their music.
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