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AnDa Union are part of a musical movement that is finding inspiration in old and forgotten songs, drawing on a repertoire of magical music that had all but disappeared during China's recent tumultuous past. AnDa Union hold on to the essence of Mongolian music whilst creating a form of music that is new. AnDa Union combine different traditions and styles of music from all over Inner and Outer Mongolia, developing an innovation previously unheard of. The very existence of a music group like AnDa Union is new to Inner Mongolia.
The group describe themselves as music gatherers, digging deep into Mongol traditions and unearthing forgotten music. They are on a mission to stimulate their culture and reengage young Mongols, many of who have forgotten how to speak their own language.
Nars grew up in the Horchin grasslands with his Grandparents who were traditional herders. His grandfather, also a musician, playing many instruments including the accordion, morin huur, and other stringed fiddles, became his teacher and mentor from an early age. At aged 12 he went to live in Chifeng to study music and met other students, four of whom would become members of Anda Union. After graduating, Nars moved to Hohhot where he joined the Inner Mongolia Music and Dance Troupe where he met the rest of the band and in 2000 Anda Union was born. Today, Nars also runs a music school teaching morin huur, tobshuur and hoomei to young people. His parents have now moved to Hohhot to help him run the school and they all live together in a house filled with students, beds and instruments. Nars also collaborates and performs with orchestras across China and Korea.
Tsetsegmaa is a long-song singer and tours with Anda Union. A Buriat, she grew up near Hulun Buir in the northwest of Inner Mongolia near the border of Russia and Outer Mongolia. Hulun Buir is one of the remotest areas of the region and home to both Ewenke and Buriat people. She works within the Inner Mongolia Music and Dance Troupe as a solo long-song singer. She has won many prizes and awards for her astounding voice and is widely seen as the finest female long-song singer in the world today. She has written a number of very beautiful Buriat songs which she perfoms with Anda Union. She is based in Hohhot.
Urgen grew up in a village two hours from Ar Horchin, close to Nars. They are childhood friends. He lived in a traditional herders’ lifestyle with his parents and two brothers. As a little boy, his job was to take the sheep into the fields to graze. His older brother Bagana had won a scholarship to study music in the city and tragically was killed by a drunk driver. Ten year old Urgen was already a budding musician but this tragic loss spurred Urgen on to become a top performer, striving to fulfil his brother’s dream. He went to school in Ar Horchin with Nars where he met Uni, then went onto Chifeng Music College and onto Hohhot to join the Inner Mongolia Music and Dance Troupe.