Release date: 7-2-2014
“distills everything powerful about Mongolian folk music and makes something new from the ingredients…transcendently powerful music that anyone from anywhere can understand.” (Pitchfork)
“This is Asian crossover music at its best”. ( The Guardian )
“Like Tinariwen, Hanggai were put on this planet to revive your love for old-school riffage, embrace them” ( Mojo )
Hanggai, from the steppes of Mongolia by way of Beijing, is a crossover band that blends traditional music and rock. The band’s members come from Inner Mongolia which covers a vast portion of China’s north, Xinjiang in China’s far northwest, Qinghai’s Haixi Mongolian Prefecture in northwest China and Beijing, China’s capital which lies far to the east.
Formed in 2004 when Ilchi and fomer band mate Xu Jingcheng re-discovered the beauty of traditional Mongolian music, the band has now grown to seven players, Batubagen (Inner Mongolia), Yiliqi (Inner Mongolia/Beijing), Yilalata (Inner Mongolia), Hurizha (Qinghai), Yin Bao (Inner Mongolia), Niu Xin (Inner Mongolia) and Ailun (Inner Mongolia).
In 2008, Hanggai released their first album, Introducing Hanggai, which garnered glowing praise internationally. Esteemed indie music website Pitchfork reviewed Introducing Hanggai at a 8.0, saying Hanggai’s music….
Through touring both internationally and domestically Hanggai had begun to make a subtle change, moving forward from the more straightforward traditional sound captured on their first album. Their live show had begun to demonstrate the rock sensibilities of these talented players and to showcase the band’s ability to truly cross over, from a traditional-instrument constructed sound built around a rock framework to a new sound, one that is a richer, more complex blend of Mongolian musical sound with modern rock sensibility.
From 2009, Hanggai played some of the best international festivals in the world, including Rosklide, Lowlands, Fuji Rock, the Chicago World Music Festival, Sziget, Wacken open air ( Europe’s largest metal festival ), FMM festival, Sydney festival, Bonnarroo and Womad festivals in Abu Dhabi, UK, Gran Canarias, Australia and New Zealand, The tours took them to all 5 continents and in June 2013 the band performed in Africa and has added the 6th continent to their list.
In 2010 they completed their second album, He who travels far, which showcases a new sound the band developed over the past few years and captures the energy of their live shows. The album was produced by Ken Stringfellow, an American musician and producer who has worked with the likes of R.E.M and Neil Young, and JB Meijers, an accomplished Dutch musician and producer, who has worked with Dutch powerhouses such as De Dijk and singer actress Carice van Houten as well as the American soul legend Solomon Burke.
In each show Hanggai hopes the audience for that short time will experience what the grasslands feel like, the freedom of life on the steppe, the beauty of the four seasons on the grasslands, the experience of nomadic life, the experience of life from the back of a horse. As one fan put it “when I close my eyes, I can see the grasslands.”
Hanggai tries to get back to the grasslands as often as they can. But as professional musicians, much of their time is spent in cities, much of their time is spent on the road. But after all, that’s what it is all about, the journey.
After a busy 2012 tour schedule that brought Hanggai too, Europe, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, the US and Canada they have started working on their new CD. May 2013 saw them recording in various studio’s in Beijing again with producer JB Meijers. The new CD Baifang – Back To You will be released on February 7th 2014 by Harlem Recordings, a division of Suburban Records in Europe