Namgar is the name of singer Namgar Lhasaranova’s crossover project. Traditional Mongolian instruments such as the Yatag (a 13-string zither), the Chanza (a three-string lute) as well as electric bass and drums form the basis for Lhasaranova’s haunting singing voice, cunningly alternating between childlike and cyclopic registers. Her melodies and lyrics are inspired by songs and myths of the Buryats and discuss horses, heroes and the vastness of the Mongolian steppe.
Namgar will perform at our Kiezsalon on 23rd May 2018 alongside Eric Chenaux.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
It is difficult to say where the inspiration comes from. Sometimes it comes from the wind’s whisper, from the sound of some instrument, which touches the soul. To be able to sing is like coming home, to breathe steppe air,listen to father singing, listen to archival recordings of great singers from the old times. I like Mongolian long songs, the singing of the great steppe artist Norovbanzad and the incomparable opera diva Maria Callas.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I learnt notes when I was 19, when studying at music college 1000 km away from my village. But folk songs have surrounded me from the very first days. My father is a wonderful singer. He was dreaming to become professional singer, but his parents did not let him study, because he had to take care of the sheep and other animals. He will turn 80 this year. Granny was also singing all her life. Whatever work she did, she was always quietly humming something. I believe their singing paved my way and I have learned a lot from them.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Urna Chakhartugchi “Hudood”
Mari Boine(Norway) ” Áiggi askiis” 2011
Queen “A Night at the Opera ”
everything from Tschaikowski
Huun Huur Tu ( Tuva republic)–Live 1 & Live 2 (2001)
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
It is a cosmopolitan cultural center. We have only been to Berlin once so far, and there was no time to visit city. Also, Berlin is city of my friends – many of them musicians. It’s a city where there is a lot of wonderful music, beautiful and talented people. Also I think of it as of punctuality, quality and cleanliness – qualities which a value a lot.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
In Ulan Ude – capital of Buryatia there is the hill called bold Mountain with the Buddhist temple Rimpoche Bagsha on top. It is an absolutely amazing place with a special energy.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I was once a ballet dancer
I would learn to be a painter, or applied artist
I could make jewellery and sew
I could become a good diplomat
I could do lotsof creative things with kids
I would struggle for the piece, happiness for children and ecology
But if none of that would work I would be the best shepherd in the steppe
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Marja Mortensson/Norway “Aarehgïjre” 2017
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
There are so many amazing musicians and composers in the world! Once upon a time we listened to Peter Gabriel’s concert “Scratch my Back”. John Metcalf was the artistic director and the arranger. If nature would give me unique voice I would be happy to be even a little part of his music. I also love the music of Arvo Pärt. As for existing cooperations I am really happy for so many coincidences in my music career. Like meeting the phantastic musician and composer Marcus Reuter, who became the producer of our album “The Down Of The Foremothers” in 2012. And it lead to another exciting project “Steppe Scape”, which unites music of Siberian, Bashkyrian, German, Canadian and Russian people. Directly after this tour we head to Kazakhstan with this project. Also I would like to mention our collaboration with Norwegian jazz musician and composer Ole Jan Meklebust for our album “Nordic Nomad”. It was a great experience and happiness to work with such people.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
I think our best gig as a performer is still ahead. As for the best concert that stroke us in the audience was the performance of Jonny Lang – a US blues and rock musician and Grammy winner. It was many years ago in Canada, but we still consider it to be our best concert experience.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
I believe, that music, as much as a person’s life has to develop it’s own full and diverse life. We hardly use electronic instruments in our music, but some times a sensual touch of it used in the right place can make things very beautiful
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I came from a big family. We are 6 children: 5 sisters and brother. All of us and our kids are very good friends. For my parents and siblings first of all I am their sister and daughter. But when I have some important concert, all my sisters and brother put everything aside to support me. Family and love for me are actually more important than what happens in my professional career.