Monday, February 3, 2014

One Last Event

Sunday was a good day; a full day.  After the Winter Festival and our wandering we ended up at the Square Pub and Grill.  Our office Wonder Woman sent out an email about an ethno-jazz concert taking place there that night, and after Engrish, Blondie, and I decided not to go through with our original plan to (finally) visit Sainshand in favor of the Winter Festival, it wasn't long before one of us said, "Hey, we should go to that jazz thing, too." 
We weren't sure what we were in for.  Arga Bileg was the band's name, so they were clearly Mongolian, and the ethno probably referred to traditional instruments, and it did, but we weren't sure exactly how this would translate into jazz.  My first experience with Mongolian-jazz fusion was at the 2012 Great Steppes of Jazz Festival, and I liked it, but if their rendition of "Someday My Prince Will Come" was good, it was nowhere near as enjoyable as Arga Bileg.
What made Arga Bileg so amazing is that instead of just covering jazz standards on their instruments, they took the essence of jazz - the chords, the rhythms, and the improvisation - and truly melded it with their own musical tradition.  I've got to say for Mongolia that it's been a long time since I've enjoyed live music as much as I've enjoyed it here.  After the show, they had the cd on sale, and Engrish and I both bought one, which makes the second cd I've bought this year (Altan Urag being the first).  So it turns out that staying in town for Tsagaan Sar was not as bad as I was afraid it was going to be on Thursday after school when nothing was open and I was staring down the barrel at two days of the same.  However, if I AM here for next Tsagaan Sar, I have a plan of attack, and you will get to hear all about it this coming weekend.


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