Anda means a blood brother or sister. For Mongolians an Anda is more important than a birth brother as you choose a person to become an Anda, a life-long blood brother. Anda Union is a kinship of Andas.
Anda Union’s thoroughly addictive combination of Mongolian musical styles is a reflection of their roots. Hailing from differing ethnic nomadic cultures the ten-strong band unite tribal and music traditions from all over Inner Mongolia. Anda Union bring a wide range of musical instruments and vocal styles together in a fusion that Genghis Khan himself would have been proud of. Keenly aware of the threat to the grasslands and their age-old Mongolian culture, Anda Union are driven by their fight for the surviv...al of this endangered way of life, by keeping the essence of the music alive.
Anda Union all trained in traditional Mongolian music from a young age, many coming from musical families. They are part of a musical movement that is finding inspiration in old and forgotten songs. As a group they hold on to the essence of Mongolian music whilst creating a form of music that is new.
As with all nomads, the Mongols have an oral culture, passed on generation to generation in stories, music and songs, through which they relate their history. The main instrument, the morin huur or horse head fiddle, pays homage to their most revered animal, the horse.
Anda Unon describe themselves as music gatherers, digging deep into Mongol traditions and unearthing bygone music. They are on a mission to save their culture and re-engage young Mongols and fight for their endangered sacred grasslands. The relentless advance of the industrial world not only threatens the environment but also their ancient nomadic way of life. Nars has a music school where 20 young people live with him and study from dawn to dusk. Several of the band make their own instruments and Saikhannakhaa, who is fighting to reverse this trend with her live music bar in the capital Hohhot, says:
‘I found an old golden wheel with half its spokes broken in an old dusty shop. It looks like a wheel that once turned the warrior carts of the great Mongol armies. This wheel hangs in my bar as a warning to Mongolian people that our culture is broken and needs to be mended.’
Hadanbaatar, the drummer adds: ‘Young Mongolians like us now understand how important our culture is but maybe the next generation won’t care and we have to prevent this from happening.’
Formed in 2000, they have influenced a generation of young Mongolians in Inner Mongolia as traditional music flourishes in the capital. Nars says, ‘Most of the band members have been playing together since childhood. As adults, we studied professional vocals and instruments together. We are like a family.’