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Hoomii Singer Hugjiltu

Updated: 2015-10-09 13:51:31

( chinatoday.com.cn )

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Back in China, Hugjiltu began to collect materials on Hoomii and carried out extensive research. He tried to teach himself the singing technique, but after several years had made little progress. Dating back 2,600 years or longer, Hoomii involves complicated vocal techniques that produce two distinctively audible pitches at the same time by coordinating vocal cords and the nasal and oral cavities. There is no way of mastering it without professional coaching.

In 1999, Mongolia’s Hoomii guru Odsuren Baatar launched a four-year course in Inner Mongolia, and Hugjiltu signed up. At 39, far beyond the prime age to start the art, he was hardly a model student. But he soon proved to be the most diligent student in the class. His hard work paid off – on conclusion of the course he achieved the highest score, causing Odsuren to admit he was the best student he had taught in Inner Mongolia, and the most promising one.

Highs and Lows

Hugjiltu has overcome multiple difficulties and mishaps in the course of learning Hoomii. The first was losing his voice. “My voice broke soon after I started studying. The cause, my teacher said, was my flawed practicing method,” he recalled. He was anxious about this, as he had heard a rumor that Hoomii was highly damaging to the vocal cords and bungled efforts to learn the craft could ruin the chance of performing any other genre of singing. For a time Hugjiltu debated whether he should continue learning Hoomii. He eventually decided not to give up and resumed training when his voice was fully recovered. “My experience testifies that vocalists can master Hoomii. Actually, I have two advantages in doing so: My experience in vocal music makes it easier to control my breath in learning the craft, and as a bass I have a deep, mellow voice,” Hugjiltu said.

Hugjiltu gave his first public Hoomii performance after four years of study. It was for the 2002 Inner Mongolia Chinese New Year gala. His debut was so eventful that he still remembers every detail.

The gala director’s invitation didn’t reach Hugjiltu until one week before the recording, catching him completely unprepared. He cherished the opportunity that would put his learning to the test, but needed a new song for the performance. He turned to Se Enkhbayar, an Inner Mongolian composer who had studied in Mongolia and researched Hoomii, for help. Excited by the prospect, Enkhbayar took on the task and within three days, Heavenly Colt was finished.

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