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Incredible Xinjiang | The legend in music: Mongolian long tune folk song

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Incredible Xinjiang | The legend in music: Mongolian long tune folk song

February 20
07:18 2021

Que Dorji, a folk artist, lives in Jinghe County located in north west China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

As the President of Jinghe County Mongolian Long Tune Association, and the Inheritor of intangible cultural heritage, Que Dorji has indulged his passion for Mongolian long tune folk song. 

Que Dorji is playing long tune. (Xinhuanet, Rustan)

Mongolian long tune folk song, referred as “sound of nature” and “song of life”, is the most representative music form of the Mongolia and the highest achievement of folk song. Appraised as the “living fossil” of Mongolian music, long-tune folk songs were included in the UNESCO representative list of world intangible cultural heritage in 2005.

Long tune fans are singing. (File picture)

Influenced by his family, especially his mother, a good singer of Mongolian long tune folk song, Que Dorji began to sing long tune folk song in his teenage, and was praised in his tribe.

Usually, the type of the long tune varies on different occasions. There are madrigal, choral, toasting, wedding, and home songs. However, the long tune always incorporates the grasslands somehow.

In Jinghe County, there are more than 500 Mongolian long tune folk songs still alive, of which the collection of long tune folk songs called Horse of thirteen colors plays a very important role in local inheriting. In 2011, the collection of long tune folk songs Horse of thirteen colors was published, which collected 539 long tune songs, including 314 songs singing about horse.

Horse, grassland, lake, river, love, these are forever theme of the long tune. Long tune tells the legend of Mongolian ancestor, and also tells the stories of how people living in grassland and their love of nature and each other. And this is why Que Dorji attracted by these songs.

He remembered how his newlywed sister to express her love to parents by long tune, and how his mother sang her tender love to children. And he also remembered how he got his true love by singing.  

Que Dorji is looking at his certificates. (Xinhuanet, Rustan)

As an good singer and Inheritor of Mongolian long tune folk song, Que Dorji has been committed to the rescue, inheritance and promotion of long tune. He invited long tune singers deep into the pastoral areas singing to villagers. And he also opened long tune training class and taught local herdsman for free.

Now he use Wechat to teach online. In the long tune fans Wechat group, he will correct and comment every student’s singing. He feels even busier than before, but he also feels happy to see new ways to introduce long tune.  

Long tune fans sing in Wechat group. (Xinhuanet, Rustan)

Que Dorji insists that the best way to protect and inherit long tune is to develop it, as well as to pass down the traditional content.

“We need to add new stories into long tune.” Que Dorji hopes long tune could be known widely. And he believes that long tune has the magic power. It is not only telling legend of Mongolian, but also giving power to people who listening by heart. 

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Country: China