Mongolian art of singing: Khoomei

Mongolian art of singing: Khoomei


Published on Sep 25, 2009

UNESCO: Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity – 2009 URL:… Description: The Mongolian art of singing: Khoomei, or Hooliin Chor (throat harmony), is a style of singing in which a single performer produces a diversified harmony of multiple voice parts, including a continued bass element produced in the throat. These singers may perform alone or in groups. Khoomei is practised today among Mongolian communities in several countries, especially in Inner Mongolia in northern China, western Mongolia and the Tuva Republic of Russia. Traditionally performed on the occasion of ritual ceremonies, songs express respect and praise for the natural world, for the ancestors of the Mongolian people and for great heroes. The form is reserved for special events and group activities such as horse races, archery and wrestling tournaments, large banquets and sacrificial rituals. The timing and order of songs is often strictly regulated. Khoomei has long been regarded as a central element representing Mongolian culture and remains a strong symbol of national or ethnic identity. As a window into the philosophy and aesthetic values of the Mongol people, it has served as a kind of cultural emissary promoting understanding and friendship among China, Mongolia and Russia, and has attracted attention around the world as a unique form of musical expression. Country(ies): China © 2008 IMARI

Best time to go to Mongolia / Throat Singing 2018-2019

Best time to go to Mongolia

Throat Singing 2018-2019

Hypnotizing sounds seem to be coming from the afterlife—Mongolian singing must be the weirdest traditional music in the world


When one listens to traditional throat singing, it sounds as if a few singers are performing simultaneously, however, in fact, this comes out of a single throat. This unique Mongolian type of singing involves the overlapping of different pitches and is familiar to most herdsmen who delight in listening as their music re-echoes over the steppes. Recently, also female singers have been trying to learn this unique art. You can listen to the musical wonder in the Tumen Ekh theatre found beside the main road of Ulaanbaatar. The theatre operates throughout the entire year, offering a wide range of traditional Mongolian shows that feature throat singing ​as well as live music performed with various traditional nomadic instruments, typical national dancing, and all other elements of local folklore. The only thing to consider is that in the peak season, that is summer to autumn, the shows are held much more frequently than in the off-season, but the tickets are always sold out rather quickly. So it is up to you when to visit Mongolian theatre.

Another thing you could do is to take part in the throat singing summer course offered by cultural organisations (look up the Khuumii Mongolian throat singing).This unique cultural experience is worth your time and money, and definitely must be included in your things-to-do-in-Mongolia list.

Throat Singing Map & Location