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Časy se mění i v mongolském pojetí hudby...

Časy se mění i v mongolském pojetí hudby... - obrázek

Časy se mění i v mongolském pojetí hudby... - obrázek

In 2011 we Mongolians have a voice and right to freedom of speech; sometimes perhaps too much. Therefore, for children of my generation to imagine that the music they listen to and sing along to could be controlled is incomprehensible.  However, those days are not so far behind us. The 1921 Revolution helped and saved us as a nation. Read more..

Of course, we have the Russians to thank for their help.  That’s when our country entered the big world of Communism.  People during that time, well most of them anyway, were sincere and loyal to Communism and loved it with all their heart. At least that’s what I hear; I wasn’t born then to know.

Well, this isn’t about people’s view of Communism anyhow, moreover the music of that time compared with the melodies and lyrics of today. If you listen to music played on the radio and television today, you will hear words about love and hatred.  Most R&B, country, folk and other similar genres sing about love, lovers and broken hearts. As for the hatred, it’s mainly heard in rap and heavy metal.  The singers don’t usually hold back and their word choice is bold with little or no censored when aired.

It was very different 20 years ago. In fact, you were not allowed to sing of love at all, and certainly not of any hatred towards the government. If you were to compose or even sing anything in a wrong context you would be in severe trouble; careers could be ended over a few ill chosen words. Sometimes imprisonment and execution was also a used punishment. Considering the times; after the Second World War and during the Cold War, most songs had to inspire the listeners to be strong, to fight, love their country and of course protect it in whatever way they could and giving up certainly was not an option. 
 Mongolian singer and actress, L Tsogzolmaa born in 1924 was awarded with the highest honour medal of the “hudulmuriin baatar”. She not only witnessed, but was instrumental part in building our history to where we are today. “Golden Age” actress L.Tsogzolmaa said: “We were only allowed to sing songs that urged us to be stronger, go further, higher and to fight harder. I was once criticized and scolded for singing an old folk song that had the words: “don’t slate me as I have not yet learned to work”.

It was nothing like today, songs were tightly censored, therefore, singers and artists in general were more responsible towards their work. Using media propaganda “half-crazy” people were “manufactured”; who were willing to give their lives for their country. The logo was “personal life comes second after the country’s interests”. The artists were even criticized for shopping when touring through the country.

It wasn’t the fancy shops of today; the most expensive and exclusive product would be pretty fabrics, at best. In meetings; where all artists and supervisors where present we would discuss their behaviour, as for most active shoppers there were jokes spreading all around, about them saying that as soon as their feet were on the ground they could “feel” with their instincts what was the fabric pricing in that area.”

The singers back then didn’t only have pressure to sing “appropriate” songs, but also had a big responsibility to perform the national anthem every morning. As there were no pre-records, the national radio was the place where most singers came every morning; very early to wake the whole country. “We would walk in knee high snow; it would make funny sounds. I don’t know how we managed to keep our voice usable, with the pressure.”

 However, it’s not as if no artist protested, some were determined to keep their work sounding the way they intended it to. Sadly, their struggle was mostly unsuccessful and many of them were silenced forever during the “The Great Repression”.  If we were to look at the words the government forbade back then, most probably we wouldn’t even understand what was wrong with them.

They were not fighting to air curse words or make a great revolution by brain washing, but simply wanted their lyrics to have the words they thought would fit. For instance, saying “virgin steppe of Mongolia” was not allowed as we were having big developments thanks to Communism and saying there was nothing on the fields was an insult to Communism.

If you were to listen to songs of that time, you would not only notice the carefully chosen words and melodies to lift your spirits, but also that every word had to rhyme and lines had to have the same beginning or end, preferably both. Every day casual words were rarely used.

Nowadays, songs are much freer, American-style, I guess. Which is understandable and explainable as public wants as trends are changing with the way the majority of people think. Plus now only the stations decide whether to air it or not. In Communist days, it was up to the government and it was also easier to keep track as there was only one channel, radio station and newspaper for a long, long time.

No offence to our readers, but in Communist days capitalism was viewed as evil and, therefore, democratic countries were our enemies. Their culture blossoming on our lands was unacceptable plus, most of the western songs had a strong voice of freedom; something unspeakable by Communist standards.

Considering the strong censorship put on domestic singers you can only imagine how the government didn’t want its people to listen to western music. But I will give them the benefit of doubt, for the fact that they didn’t criticize African Americans.

In fact a band “Ineemseglel” that existed during Communist times and was organised under the government blessing mentioned they had to announce before performing one particular song that it was the traditional song of African Americans. Of course, it was a lie and it was a normal American song, but without this introduction they wouldn’t have been able to perform. Looking back we have come a long way since then, look at the way we feel today about the Beatles for example.

 Back then they were the “forbidden fruit”,  today we are remaking a Beatles album with Mongolian instruments (as we mentioned last week) and if you were to look straight ahead standing outside the State Department Store, you will see a wall dedicated to them.

Source: UB Post


01.08.2011 21:18:08
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