Anda Union performing on rare instruments to accompany stirring vocals, the group weaves their nomadic roots to unearth forgotten music
The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia (UBC) presents the Canadian premiere of Anda Union, the renowned folk group hailing from regions across Inner Mongolia, March 26 at 8pm in the Chan Shun Concert Hall. The nine-member ensemble will captivate with a transcendent fusion of ancient sounds created through haunting throat singing and music performed on such rare instruments as the horse head fiddle and two-stringed lute.
“I first witnessed Anda Union in Shanghai a few years ago, and was profoundly impressed by their musicality and stage presence,” says Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre. “For our audiences who are often on the lookout for new and adventurous musical experiences, I knew Anda Union would make a wonderful addition to our series. I look forward to introducing this group of brilliant musicians in their first-ever Canadian appearance.”
Described by The Guardian as “stirring and sophisticated”, Anda Union are a band of artists brought together by a passion for preserving the forgotten sounds of their Mongolian heritage. The members, who consider themselves musical gatherers, come from different tribes united by the legendary Genghis Khan, and blend the styles and influences of their respective lineages. The result is a singular collective sound from the Mongol tradition.
Through a combination of ethereal melodies, soaring vocals, reverberating throat singing, and heart-pounding rhythms, Anda Union evoke the natural wonders of their rustic homeland. The band’s rich and varied instrumentation includes: the Morin Huur or “horse head fiddle” with a rich, melancholic tone; the Tob Shur, a Mongolian two string lute; and the Moadin Chor, a flute sounded while the player engages in throat singing – an exceptional skill mastered by only a handful of Mongolian artists. The vocalists are also known for their tradition of Mongolian “long-song” singing which is characterized by elongated lyrical phrases. Working their magic with these various instruments and singing styles, Anda Union convey everything from the gentle song of bird calls, to the rush of wild horse hooves, echoing sounds heard on the Inner Mongolian steppes.
Anda Union rose to international fame with the release of their first album, The Wind Horse (2011), and have since headlined world music and mainstream festivals. The momentum surrounding this exceptional group continues to build. For their second album, Homeland, Anda Union worked with 14-time GRAMMY-winning producer Richard King, whose credits include Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road, The Goat Rodeo Sessions, and the film soundtrack Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Recently, Homeland was selected as one of the ‘Best Albums of 2016’ by Songlines Magazine.
The meaning of ‘Anda’ is ‘blood brother or sister’; Anda Union’s ties run deep as most of the artists have performed together since childhood. Formed in 2000, the band is inspiring many youth of Inner Mongolia, a place where folk music is flourishing. With its war stricken past and history of changing border lines, Mongolian peoples have at times been cut off from one another and their spiritual homelands. This renaissance of Mongolian music is helping strengthen an endangered culture that relies on the teachings of one generation to the next to survive, and where many of its young people no longer speak their own language.
Chan Centre Connects Events (chancentre.com/connects)
A series of ancillary events programmed in conjunction with Chan Centre performances, exploring the role of arts and artists in society.
• Film Screening: Anda Union – From the Steppes to the City – Thursday, March 23, 2017, 7pm @ The Cinematheque, 1131 Howe Street. This 2011 documentary takes us on a journey through the grasslands of Inner Mongolia to reveal the roots of Anda Union’s haunting and beautiful music.
• Anda Union Throat Singing Workshop – Sunday, March 26, 2017, 11am @ MBA House, 3385 Wesbrook Mall, UBC. Members of Anda Union will conduct a special workshop for all ages that includes a throat singing demonstration, lesson, and more. FREE. Presented in association with Wesbrook Village.
• Pre-Show Talk with Tim Pearce – Sunday, March 26, 2017, 7:15pm @ Royal Bank Cinema, The Chan Centre. Anda Union Manager Tim Pearce discusses the past, present and future of the ensemble.
About The Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC (chancentre.com)
Since 1997, the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts in UBC’s Arts & Culture District has earned an international reputation for its striking design, stellar acoustics, and exceptional programming. Artists, critics, and patrons alike are unanimous in their praise of the facility, winning it a place among North America’s premier performing arts venues. The Chan Centre boasts three unique venues: the superb Chan Shun Concert Hall, the dramatic Telus Studio Theatre, and the intimate Royal Bank Cinema. From classical, jazz, theatre, and opera to world music, the Chan Centre is a vital part of UBC campus life where artistic and academic disciplines merge to inspire new perspectives on life and culture. Past performers and guest speakers include: Wynton Marsalis, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Renée Fleming, Dan Savage, Yo-Yo Ma, Buena Vista Social Club, Sigur Rós, Mavis Staples, Anoushka Shankar, Trombone Shorty, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock.
Chan Centre presents: Anda Union
Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 8pm
Chan Centre for the Performing Arts
University of British Columbia
6265 Crescent Road, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
In person at the Chan Centre ticket office
Open Tue-Sat, 12pm-5pm