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Up on the Mongolian Plateau, a once-endangered folk singing tradition is being brought back to life. Known as "Hoomei", it is special because one throat can produce three different sounds at the same time.
Hugejiltu, 50 years old, is an inheritor of the Hoomei art. Awarded many times in international vocal contests, he calls it a basic skill to be able to sing the three different sounds at once.
HJGLT, Hoomei singer, said, "Previously, Chinese Mongolians called it haolinchor instead of Hoomei. Haolin means throat, while chor stands for harmony. This is a low sound.This is another low sound, but softer. Then the whistle is added. This is the combination of three different sounds."
The magical art has been passed down for over two thousand years. Most pieces were short songs and taught in oral forms. Without any professional coaching environment, and old singers gradually passing away, the art almost died out.
HJGLT said, "Strictly speaking, it has been dying out for at least 7 or eight years."
Back in 1996, HUGEJILTU was in Australia for a contest and came across Hoomei. The ancient art impressed him so much that he decided to become a throat singing apprentice. Three years later, a Mongolian master was invited to coach him.
Now the art is being revived in his loving hands. As well as starting up a class for Hoomei, he also set up the Inner Mongolian Hoomei Association.
HJGLT said, "Now we have as many as 300 young people learning it. Among them, a dozen are excellent enough to be on stage."
To bring the artform to a broader audience, young singers have their own ways, such as combining western singing and playing styles.
And a mention of UNESCO also brings a smile to HUGEJILTU. In 2009, Hoomei was listed as an item of World intangible cultural heritage. In 2010, it was added to college syllabus as a feature of music courses in Inner Mongolia. The magical ancient art has already embarked on its journey of revival.