Phantom Sway

We Didn’t Know We Needed Mongolian Folk Rock Until We Heard It

I can’t understand the words. Heck, I can’t even identify all the instruments these guys are playing, but I am loving The HU.

Finding their video was just a happy accident thanks to whatever arcane divination is behind YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. For some serendipitous reason, it served up The HU’s video for Yuve Yuve Yu and I had to check it out.

Four guys looking like warriors from another age playing wildly ornate instruments against a rugged backdrop of Eurasian wilderness—the video is visually stunning. The music is at once alien and familiar. The hooks and the driving beat are pure rock and roll while the instrumentation and vocals are something that many in the west will find entirely new.

I’ve since discovered that the two-stringed instruments played with a bow are called Morin Khuur or “horsehead fiddles.” The 3-stringed instrument being played like a guitar may be something called a Shudarga but I’m not sure. All the axes look like very modern versions of very ancient instruments.

The vocals include what is known as Mongolian throat singing. I don’t know how it’s done but it doesn’t sound easy. It reminds me of the vibrating drone of an aboriginal didjeridoo except there’s no instrument involved. It’s fascinating.

The HU released another video yesterday for a song called Wolf Totem. The band is surrounded by an imposing crew of Mongolian bikers who evoke the fierce warrior horsemen of old.

The HU are getting a lot of rave reviews from YouTube commenters who can often be a snarky, unappreciative bunch.

Up until 5 minutes ago, I never even knew that Mongolian Folk Rock was a thing. Now I absolutely must hear more.

YouTube is finally doing something right with their recommendations

A new genre of music. Mongolian Metal. \m/

ok i’m gonna need a 10 hour loop of all these guy’s songs

Mongolian biker music!

I have no idea what the fuck is going on, but I like it.

This is so cool. The last thing I expected to find but I love it.

There is something primitive in this music even though the production value is anything but. It awakens something in you when you hear it. It’s visceral. The English subtitles are far from a coherent translation but you can read enough to see that The HU is honoring their heritage while bringing something entirely new into the world.

Connect with The HU on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Author Profile

JamesLanka
JamesLanka
Writer, graphic designer, co-screenwriter/director of "Minty," Managing Editor for Phantom Sway




32 comments

  • “A new genre of music. Mongolian Metal. \m/”

    Ummm… Tengger Cavalry has been doing this for at least 10 years….

  • Mongolian Rock/Metal isn’t new stuff — Tengger Cavalry has been doing this for at least 10 years!!

  • Mongolian Rock/Metal new stuff — Tengger Cavalry has been doing this for at least 10 years!!

  • Read the English subtitles. The song calls for a return of “Lord Chinggis” aka Genghis Khan, who was brutal and committed mass genocide.

      • Oh, I don’t know. If you correct for the smaller population then, I’d say fairly even. Hellish for the victims, either way. In a curious way, I’d say Chinggis K. had a better argument for what he did, than the US has now. Much good either’ll do the dead.

        The video work here is stunning, too.

        But the music here – ah! musically excellent and stirring, energizing stuff too. Makes me want to get on those tiny Mongolian horse-ponies, and gallop off to conquer somewhere! Anywhere will do. It’s the thought that counts!

  • Excellent music ! Played with fire and inspired by the history of the people from their nation .
    It has a similar effect on me when hearing the Scottish bagpipes, I’m up and ready for anything !

  • Wow, they like metal, being ironic, they’re environmentalists protecting tradition AND damn good looking. Take me there 🙂

  • Yes! yes! Gimmie one of those tiny Mongolian pony horses and I’m galloping off to damn well CONQUER somewhere!

  • Yes! Yes! gimmie one of those tiny Mongolian pony-horses & let me gallop off to damn well CONQUER somewhere!

  • Kind of like “pirate” rock with a blues rock structure and…. mongolian stuff! I dig it!

  • Sounds vaguely reminiscent of Tusk by Fleetwood Mac. That is the first thing I thought of when listening to this song.

  • The more I listened, the more my primitive blood started coursing in my veins! It certainly is an inspiring chant of war and protection for our peoples. I will continue to listen and be further inspired!

  • You guys should check out Hanggai, and if you’re looking for something much heavier, Tengger Cavalry.

  • Just an FYI this guy is part of a Mongolian neo Nazi group called Tsagaan Khas that praise Hitler and sing about extreme nationalism. Fun times.

    • Chey, you make it sound like he is a Neo Nazi with mis-information of praising Hitler. You seem to have left out, maybe deliberately or from ignorance, the latter one would hope for, that he deplores fascism, and is fighting on an ecological basis against his government for selling their land to international foreign mining companies who reap rewards and deliver nothing too the ordinary Mongolian people.
      He fights for justice and protection of his people and insures they are equally refunded for their work, something I believe is very admirable. He is more correctly a ecological “Warrior” taking care of his peoples land and trying to prevent the loss of natural river sources in his wilderness from drying up and dying. And the name Tsagaan Khas is actually interpreted as The White Swasticka, an Ancient Symbol of their tribal history.
      It is the Hitler nazi’s who stole this emblem in black to represent their brutal regime.
      I supply you some links for you to research some credibility in their defense from hearsay you have posted.

      Tsagaan Khas (Mongolian Neo-Nazi movement) – Quora
      https://www.quora.com/topic/Tsagaan-Khas-Mongolian-Neo-Nazi-movement
      Jul 18, 2017 … Nothing much. They don’t act that violent anymore. And they’re not that big either. Also they’re environmentalists. They fight to get Mongolians …
      Mongolia’s ‘eco-Nazis’ target foreign miners – Asean Plus | The Star …
      https://www.thestar.com.my/news/regional/2013/10/10/mongolian-nazi-miners/
      Oct 10, 2013 … Ariunbold Altankhuu, a leader of the Mongolian neo-Nazi environmentalist group Tsagaan khas (White Swastika), salutes in Ulan Bator, …
      Mongolia neo-Nazis announce a change of tack – pollution control …
      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mongolia-rightwing/mongolia-neo-nazis-announce-a-change-of-tack-pollution-control-idUSBRE96108N20130702
      Jul 2, 2013 … Tsagaan Khass, or White Swastika, has only 100-plus members but it is one of several groups with names like Dayar Mongol (Whole Mongolia) …

      • this ain’t it
        That has to be close to the dumbest thing anyone has said on the internet, ever.

    • Yeah, this was giving me super heavy nationalism vibes. Plus one of the instruments (the two-stringed one?) literally had swastikas running down the fret-board. I realize swastikas have other cultural significance, but paired with the lyrics, I think it’s a safe bet that’s not what they’re going for.

      I don’t think you need a source on their political leanings to understand that calling someone a traitor for not ~worshiping your ancestors~ is highly nationalistic.

    • 5:13 in the video you can see one of the bikers clench his fist. He has a metal ring with a swastika. That ain’t Hindu symbolism either.

      • Damn close tho. The Nazis wanted to swipe the Swastika – ‘Aryan’ and all that nonsense – but got the arms pointing the wrong way! Kind of like a flag flying upside down – a recognizable distress symbol.

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