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Eclectic Tales from Mongolia debut in Hong Kong

Traditional Mongolian long songs and throat singing echoing the desert and highlands will be performed alongside Western music creating an explosive new mix.

Hong Kong avant-garde musician Li Chin Sung (aka Dickson Dee) will join forces with the Khoomii Sound Machine, a group of renowned Mongolian vocalists and the world's most versatile jazz and contemporary musicians, to create an enthralling new World Music performance, "Eclectic Tales from Mongolia".

World premiere "Eclectic Tales from Mongolia" is one of the commissioned programmes of the New Vision Arts Festival presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. It will be staged at 8pm on Friday (November 3) at Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall.

Li Chin Sung will direct the concert live on stage with his turntables and laptop, which create live music with sampled and pre-produced sounds, loops and patterns, responding to the singing, chanting and roaring of the Mongolian artists, as well as to the improvisation parts of the Western instruments in between the composed parts.

The A-list lineup of vocalists and instrumentalists includes long song singer Ganbaatar Khongorzul, who has been a longstanding member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble; renowned Khoomii artistes Naranbadrakh Nergui and Damdin Gantulga; Morin Khuur (Horse Head Violin) player Mikhlai Burgedbaatar.

Others are the world's most versatile jazz and contemporary musicians, including Ensemble Modern trumpet player Valentin Garvie from Argentina; sound designer and live electronics expert Josef Novotny from Austria; Korean fusion percussionist Park Je Chun; and Swedish bass virtuoso and composer Jonas Hellborg, who has collaborated with John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham and Trilok Gurtu.

Khoomii (Throat Singing) is a traditional style of singing that originates from the Mongolian plateau and imitates the sounds of nature. By manipulating air passing through the nasal passages and throat, the singer is able to create harmonies by producing high and low tones simultaneously.

Urtiin Duu (Long Song), one of the two most important singing styles of Mongolia's nomadic communities, is performed at important celebrations and festivals. By using air retained in the abdomen and lungs, the singer produces a series of sharp, rich vocal sounds - in one breath. It was declared one of UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage masterpieces in 2005.

Musicians and performers from Mongolia will demonstrate and introduce the art of throat singing and long song at 8pm tomorrow (November 1) at Recital Hall, 8/F, Hong Kong City Hall High Block. The lecture demonstration is conducted in Mongolian with English translation. Admission is free.

Tickets for "Eclectic Tales from Mongolia" priced at $320, $220 and $120 are available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for full-time students, senior citizens, people with disabilities and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Group booking discounts are up to 20% off.

For programme enquiries, call 2370 1044.

Ends/Tuesday, October 31, 2006

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