Welcome elsewhere! Imagine a morin khuur (a traditional Mongolian fiddle) combined with classical piano, sometimes jazz. Add khuumii (Mongolian diphonic singing, associated with throat singing, but different) and you have an unlikely but very real album. It’s called Nar, the burning sun that scorches the Mongolian steppe (Die Sonne is the German translation). It is also the inner light that drives life and passion.
There are two of them, a man and a woman, brought together by the most fortunate of chances. He is Mandaakhai Daansuren, born and bred in the Gobi desert in Mongolia. She is Susanna Tiertant, a French pianist with impeccable classical studies who enriches her repertoire with an insatiable curiosity and who, as a result, also enriches non-European traditional music with an added sumptuousness. In the end: each member of this virtuous diptych is given an extra soul.
The melodies played by Daansuren are simple, but beautifully ornamented by Tiertant’s flowing phrases, which are adorned here with opulent romantic fabrics, or there with some seductive jazz harmonic incursions. Elsewhere, Daansuren accompanies himself with khuumi singing, which creates a surprising but not antinomic contrast with the piano. These strangely attractive, raspy vocal sounds have the potential to be a hit in the new music world!
Okay, sometimes it does sound ‘’exoticism-for-tourists’’ kitschy, like those (quite pretty!) Chinese folk melodies arranged by Lang Lang. But it would be a sign of bad faith to deny the pleasure of this encounter, tinged with sincerity and just enough audacity to keep it honest. Naive? Sometimes, yes. But more often irresistible.