"Ögbelerim - Music for my Ancestors" - Batsükh Dorj

Batsükh Dorj
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Tsengel, the western most village of Mongolia. In the remote foothills of the upper Altai mountains, Batsükh Dorj perpetuates khöömei in his community. This remarkable musician perfectly masters the different throat singing styles typical of the Tuvans: khöömei (contracted throat singing), sygyt (whistled throat singing), kargyraa (deep throat singing), ezenggileer (lit. “stirrups”), and borbangnadyr (lit. “rolling”). Accompanied by Johanni Curtet, specialist in throat-singing in the West who arranged and produced her first album, Batsükh sings us about his nomadic culture through mountains and travels, notably by imitating the rhythms of horses and the flow of water. A rare and complete artist: luthier, he masters his own sound; and composer he brings a major contribution to his musical tradition.

This Altai blues is a sound that is its, and that of this encounter between a Tuvan musician and a French researcher-musician in search of harmonic sounds, where the art of khöömei unites them. Seeking a folk acoustic sound in vast spaces, it is a free and spontaneous interpretation. Compositions in the codes of the tradition, revisited Tuvan traditional music, a fiddle that makes us forget the temporality, a lute that punctuates our cavalcades, the overtones that connect us to the elements, a timeless music, in tribute to our ancestors.

Batsükh was born in 1990 in Tsengel, Bayan-Ölgii province in Mongolia. Initiated by Papizan Badar, he learned khöömei with his older brother Bütemj, and listened to recordings. He developed his practice in Touva alongside the famous throat-singers from the Alash and Chirgilchin ensembles. He graduated from the Music College of the Republic of Tuva (Russia). He masters several khöömei techniques, in Mongolian and Tuvan styles: khöömei (hurried overtone singing), sygyt (whistled khöömei), kargyraa (deep khöömei), ezengileer, borbagnadyr; the playing of the igil fiddle and the doshpuluur lute; and instrument making, learned from Aldar Tamdyn. Batsükh participates in many festivals and traditional arts competitions, as well as national and regional khöömei competitions.

Discography – filmography

An Anthology of Mongolian khöömii (2017, Buda Musique/Routes Nomades)
Ögbelerim – Music for my Ancestors (2023, first album, Buda Musique/Routes Nomades)
Journey into Khöömii, de J.-F. Castell (2018 Les Films du Rocher, Hors/Champs-Contre/Champs, A ProPos productions)

Top of the World December - Songlines

n°12 October - Transglobal World Music Charts

L'enivrant blues de l'Altaï - FIP

Perle mongole - Willis Tipps, WOXX

"fascinante plongée dans une culture" - Indiepoprock