Tag Archives: Hanggai

WOMAD Gran Canaria 2019 Set for November 7-10

World music festival WOMAD Gran Canaria-Las Palmas de Gran Canaria will present 32 artists from four continents November 7-10, 2019 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.

The international lineup includes Ghanaian artist Pat Thomas, Brazilian diva Dona Onete, Iranian-born Afghan Elaha Soroor with the duo Kefaya, Altin Gün, DJ Mam, Hanggai, Jungle by Night, Nayaband, Sofiane Saidi & Mazaldd, Tupinamba and Trans Sound Kabar.

The Spanish mainland artists this year are Novedades Carminha, Lorena Álvarez and The Limboos.

The concerts will take place at the Santa Catalina and Boulevard stages and the emerging Canary Islander artists will have their own space LPAJuventud @ WOMAD, at the Plaza de Canarias.


The Canary Island’s presence includes six groups and soloists at the two main stages:  Althay Páez, Atlántida, Birkins with Álvaro Suite, Fajardo, Lajalada and Toto Noriega.

Among the fortnight of planned activities, a set of film screenings with seven feature films and three short films will show contemporary visions of Africa.

There will be dancing and percussion in the workshops for adults and children that will be taught by Peruvian Mariella Köhn with percussionist Walter Sánchez.

The commemoration of the arrival of man on the moon will be disseminated in various activities of the Elder Museum and in children’s workshops.

It is an artistic roster that perfectly condenses the essence of WOMAD and that will offer a magnificent sound and cultural map of the world in a unique communion of tradition and innovation, because culture is history, but also evolution, and that responds to this programming ”, assured festival director Dania Dévora in her presentation.

The mayor of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Augusto Hidalgo, expressed his happiness for the new edition of the festival: “We are tremendously happy with this new edition, to which the Government of the Canary Islands finally joins more firmly. We also add value with a new stage for emerging bands that was born from an initiative of the City Council of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria through its Department of Youth ”, referring to the new emerging bands stage, LPAJuventud @ WOMAD.

Likewise, the president of the Cabildo (island government) de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, expressed his commitment to the WOMAD festival, which he has described as one of the “great events” national and international. “There are no events of the transcendence of multiculturalism like WOMAD,” he said.

Finally, the president of the Canary Islands regional Government, Ángel Víctor Torres, expressed his delight to contribute to the celebration of this festival that has, in his words, “a transcendence that exceeds music, as it contains values ​​that we share, of multiculturalism, inclusion and also has great economic value for the city and the island.”


Artist Profiles: Hanggai



Hanggai, composed of young musicians from Beijing and the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia, is at the forefront of a modern Mongolian folk revival in the heart of Beijing. The musicians are pioneers of “Chinagrass” – contemporary Chinese folk music (often performed by or influenced by Chinese minorities) that reclaims roots music from the grasslands.

Mixing khoomei (throat singing – a fascinating vocal technique in which a single musician produces two notes simultaneously), morin khuur (horsehair fiddle) and tobshuur (2-stringed lute) with rock instruments, the group draws on a repertoire that all but disappeared during China’s recent turbulent past.

Hanggai’s performances of traditional songs from the grasslands are attracting an ever-increasing following in China. The group’s leader, Ilchi, fronted a punk rock band until he experienced a conversion after hearing traditional overtone singing. He traveled to his father’s homeland of Inner Mongolia and started to learn the technique – rediscovering the music and repertoire of songs that had faded but not disappeared. There he met Hugejiltu and Bagen, both music students, who joined the group.

Hugejiltu plays lead fiddle and Bagen sings deep bass using a overtone singing technique whereby he produces a note one octave below the note he is singing.

Many of their songs are adaptations of traditional songs from the grasslands, sung in Mongolian; many use khoomei, a throat-singing technique that has been handed down over hundreds of years.

At the core of the music are two traditional instruments – the morin khuur (horsehair fiddle) and the tobshuur (strummed 2-stringed lute). Some of Hanggai’s arrangements sound traditional and others are more complex.




One of their songs, Five Heroes (which tells of vigilantes stealing from the rich and giving to the poor), includes jangly electric guitar, conjuring up cowboy movies and creating a connection between East and West. Another song, Lullaby (Borulai), is a stunning mix of vocal harmonies, providing a familiar feel of a gentle lullaby with a strong atmosphere of the grasslands.

The group takes its name from an ancient Mongolian word that describes an idealized grassland landscape of mountains, trees, rivers and blue skies. Its CD, Introducing Hanggai, is on the World Music Network label.

Hanggai has performed throughout Europe and the United States.




Introducing Hanggai (World Music Network/Introducing, 2008)

He Who Travels Far (Four Quarters, 2011)

Baifang (Harlem Records, 2014)