‘Totally unexpected…rousing new crowd-pleasers.’ (The Guardian)
From the steppes of Mongolia, via Beijing, comes Hanggai, blending traditional music and upbeat rock.
They sing about Mongolian Robin Hoods, mix throat singing with rock instruments and dress like men of the steppes even though they live in the teeming, churning metropolis of Beijing.
Hanggai’s music embraces the world of rock, pop and bluegrass as seen and heard by a new generation of Chinese.
The self-described ‘Inner Mongolian hillbillies’ have had a great year in Asia, the US and Australia. Highlights for the band were outstanding shows at Fuji Rock Festival in Niigata, Japan, Music Without Borders @ Millennium Park, Chicago and Bonaroo Festival, Tennessee, Sydney Festival, Australia and WOMAD Australia and New Zealand.
In 2012 they are returning to Europe, Australia, Japan and the America’s. Summer 2011/2012 will bring Hanggai back to Australia, with appearances booked at Woodford, Peats Ridge and Mona Foma Festivals with headline sideshows this time added to the tour.
When Beijing-based punk rocker Ilchi heard throat singing for the first time, he was determined to investigate his family’s Inner Mongolian heritage. He journeyed there, met two traditional musicians named Xu Jingchen and Batubagen, and soon Hanggai was born.
The scope of Hanggai’s music is almost as wide as the grasslands out of which they journey. Hanggai encompasses tradition, culture, fusion and folklore to produce their unique sound. Forming in 2004, they released their debut album ‘Introducing Hanggai’ in 2008 to much acclaim and began to tour both internationally and nationally.
The more straightforward traditional sound captured on their first album has developed through their international touring, reflecting their growing rock sensibilities. The sound is richer, more complex, and irresistible. As Mojo magazine so effectively put it, ‘like Tinariwen, Hanggai were put on this planet to revive your love for old-school riffage. Embrace them!’
Hanggai take their audience on a journey to the interior, giving them a taste of the freedom of life on the steppe, the beauty of the four seasons in the grasslands, and the experience of nomadic life – the experience of life from the back of a horse. As Pitchfork says, ‘it’s transcendently powerful music that anyone from anywhere can understand.’
With their elegant songs, top-notch production and strangely familiar tunes, they have made the leap from folk phenomenon to crossover pioneers while keeping their soul very much intact.