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From April 3-13, the Sky Melody Ensemble, made up of members of the National Song and Dance Ensemble of Mongolia, toured Taiwan at the invitation of the Chin-Shuan Cultural and Educational Foundation, a Taiwan Soka Association (TSA) affiliate. Led by bandleader Bat-Orshikh Badarch and Japan-based Mongolian singer Oyunna, the ensemble performed to full-house audiences in Kaohsiung, Taichung, Taipei and Taoyuan, in a total of nine concerts.
Each performance showcased traditional Mongolian music, dance, and vocal arts, including Khöömei, overtone-singing (commonly known as Mongolian throat singing), which is considered an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO.
The ensemble brought to life the history of the Mongol empire and the sound of horses galloping across the vast Mongolian steppes through lyrical chants and instruments such as the morin khuur (horse's head fiddle), ever buree (folk oboe), limbe (side-blown flute) and yoochin (dulcimer). Balancing a bowl of milk on their heads, the folk dancers also performed a choreography featuring the swinging and shaking of their torsos without spilling the milk.
On April 11, the Sky Melody Ensemble visited the National Taiwan University of Arts as well as TSA's headquarters, the Zhi Shan Culture Center.
The Chin-Shuan Cultural and Educational Foundation was established by Taiwan Soka Association in 1988 to promote international cultural exchange with Taiwan.
[Adapted from articles in the April 16, 19, 23 and 26, 2013, issues of Harmony Press, TSA; photos courtesy of TSA]
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