Monday, 6 August 2012

Anda Union - The Wind Horse ****

Who says I don't do culture?

A folk band from Inner Mongolia I admit, is a bit of a tangent from my usual Fringe diet of comedy with a bit of theatre (favouring funny plays), but I am a music fan too and I do like hearing traditional music from around the world (I used to love watching the Soweto Gospel Choir promote their show on the Royal Mile and I think there is space for more African traditional music especially as they are not performing this year).

I was particularly curious to hear the "throat singing" in this show, (described to me by the guy who game me the flyer) which plays a big part throughout the performance.

You are welcomed into the Assembly's "Elegance" Tent by the performers who give you a blue scarf around your neck - yours to keep, a nice touch which is in keeping with the surroundings and the quality of the whole show.

When the music starts, it's a lively cacophony of sounds not all of which you can attribute to an instrument. It's not immediately clear that the whistling sound you can hear is coming from the performers throats (I was looking for some kind of wind instrument but couldn't see one in the hands of any performer).

The style of singing means that the performers can make this whistling noise as they sing. It's incredibly powerful and it contributes well to the overall sound. The male voices, although less harmonious, have a similar effect to a Welsh male choir and the string instruments make them sound not to dis-similar to Irish folk group, but with an oriental twist (particularly the drinking song that they played).

Horses play a big part in the lives of the people from the Mongolian Grasslands and one of the highlights of the performance was a song called "10,000 Galloping Horses" during which, the musicians made their horse fiddles scream like wild horses (literally as well as metaphorically).

For me, it was a welcome distraction and a great break from a day of comedy, but for any music fan, this is likely to be a highlight of the Fringe and I expect them to be well received.

(I happened to bump into a former work colleague at the show who was reviewing it for Broadway Baby. He also enjoyed it and his review can be read here (in much better prose than I can muster).

Show information here.

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