Eden Court – Empire Theatre
Sunday 31st January 2016
Sound: Atmosphere: Performance:
Anda Union is a nine piece band made up of accomplished musicians based in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, but they have diverse ethnic backgrounds from varying nomadic cultures and fuse these different styles of traditional music while at the same time adding their own modern interpretation.
The stage is full of unfamiliar instruments, the band enter the stage, introducing themselves and explaining Anda means “blood brothers”. From that moment on we are launched into whirlwind of eclectic sounds, music, and vocals, with each member introducing songs which had its own personal significance. Saikhannakhaa sung a beautiful song from her home town, Chinggel gave some amazing solo’s on his Moadin Chor (ancient flute) and I was amazed that he was managing to play and sing Hoomai (guttural throat song) at the same time. They were joined on stage for solos and duets by Tsetsegmaa who performed her own Buriat songs and by Biligbaatar who is an award winning long song singer.
There was an charged atmosphere, as the sounds of horses hooves, drum beats, bells and whistles conjured up scenes from the Steppes. In the introduction to Galloping Horses the musicians used their Horse Head Fiddles (Morin Hurr) to create the whinnying of horses, it was simply wonderful. We were told by Nars that the the Morin Huurs used to be strung with horses hair but these days they tend to use Nylon. There was phenomenal singing from Nars, Urgen and Uni on the song Derlcha and when they were all playing their fiddles in unison, sometimes at great speed, it was astonishing.
What an extraordinary experience, I was blown away. Definitely worth catching them on the rest of their UK tour.
Reviewer: Zoe Gwynne