NisNis Fest 2012

Last night was one of my favorite concerts thus far in Ulaanbaatar. It was the 16th annual NisNis Festival – a concert commemorating the anniversary of local grunge band Nisvanis.

Ten bands were featured alongside Nisvanis and they switched from two stages, to keep the show moving along. Most of the bands played 3-5 songs, while Nisvanis played both an acoustic and electric set. Bands represented several genres: rock, grunge, metal, folk rock, and indie rock. One band, Jokers Wild, even played Pink Floyd.

It can be hard to find a concert similar to what I’m used to back in the States here in Ulaanbaatar. The market just isn’t as big here, and so real rock shows are few and far between. But, last night’s show was an energizing display of all that the Ulaanbaatar scene has to offer, and all in one venue.

The crowd was mostly young, what you would expect at any rock concert. And although it was mostly Mongolian fans, there were a handful of foreigners who came to check out the scene as well.

Highlights included North Ducks’ rocking cover of a traditional Mongolian song. The whole crowd sang along to their reinterpretation – but, alas, I didn’t know the words. I also really enjoyed seeing Altan Urag (a band I’ve seen quite a bit at their regular restaurant gig) in a more raucous environment. Among the new bands I saw was, Solongo, which is one of only a few Mongolian groups with a female lead singer.

All in all it was a fabulous night. I spent much of the show running around filming a few of the bands and the crowd. I’ll have some of that footage up once I’ve had a chance to edit.

In the meantime, check out the videos below of some of the bands that played last night.

More Photos:

nisvanis

Music Video: Nisvanis

I’ve been working on a story about Nisvanis for the past few days. Subsequently, I’ve made my way through several of their music videos, some of which I thought I’d share.

Nisvanis, which formed in 1996, is Mongolia’s first grunge band. Heavily inspired by Nirvana, they brought a new sound of rock music to Mongolia, helping to change the musical landscape. As lead singer Amgaa told me, “Nisvanis is the bridge of Mongolian rock music from the hard times to the good times – from socialism to now. In the beginning of the 1990s, rock music was almost dead. We took what existed of rock music then, and ushered in the new era of Mongolian rock music.”

Metal_Concert

Live from UB: Metal Showcase

Last Sunday I attended the Season 3: Metal Concert here in Ulaanbaatar. The show featured Mongolia’s top metal/grunge/hardcore bands. It ended up being more of an experience than I had anticipated.

I’ve always been more of a folk/acoustic kind of girl. I appreciate all genres of music, but if I had my choice between attending a grunge concert and attending a folk concert, I would choose folk at least 95% of the time. I’ve never felt quite at home at any sort of concert that involves a mosh pit. Even in the United States I feel like a foreigner when I attend more hardcore shows. And so attending a metal showcase in Mongolia had me feeling like the ultimate outsider. The skinheads who greeted us (the only two white girls) with harsh stares when we walked in didn’t help. But, the musicians who generously let us film and checked in on us throughout the concert did!

Below are three songs by three different bands: Nisvanis, Prophets, and Zugeer I…  And, while I was busy filming, Hedy Dohm was snapping away. Check out her photos from the show here.

Enjoy the foray into the Mongolian metal scene!

Duunii Klip: ‘Az Jargaltai Togsdog’ by Nisvanis

Nisvanis is Mongolia’s first grunge band. Because of the size of the popular music scene here, it seems that several bands can claim at least one ‘first’ or ‘only’ in their title. Nisvanis can definitely back the claim up. They started in 1996 and have recorded three albums (right no par with most groups here). ‘Az Jargaltai Togsdog’ roughly translates to ‘Ends Happily’, and the album that they released the song on is titled ‘Frisbee’.

Nisvanis is one of those groups that keeps coming up. Almost every meeting I have with a musician or someone in the music industry here involves at least a mention of Nisvanis. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see them for myself soon.