From Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Arga Bileg performed last night at the Seattle Asian Art Museum as the 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival continues. In a packed sold out concert, Arga Bileg presented an uncanny blend of jazz and Mongolian folk music created with traditional and western musical instruments in a transporting evening complete with piano and horse-head fiddles and zithers and throat singing – Arga Bileg blended old and new on both Mongolian and Western instruments. It makes me want to hop on an airplane and fly off to Mongolia.

Click on the schedule here 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival  continues.

Founded in 2009 by percussionist Gantulga Ganbat, this eleven-piece ensemble – dancers Enkhgerel Dash-Yachil, Odbayar Batsuuri, Bayart Dash-Yachil, Norovbanzad Byambasuren and musicians Davaazorig Altangerel (fiddle), Batzaya Khadhuu (fiddle), Munkhtogtokh Ochirkhuyag (zither), Purevsukh Tyeliman (pianist), Jigjiddorj Nanzaddorj (fiddle), Bayasgalan Terbish (percussion) –combines several years of talent from the group’s award-winning musicians, composers, dancers and choreographers.

Arga Bileg members sit on the National Morin Khuur Ensemble of Mongolia, the country’s prestigious national orchestra, and have performed in venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Beijing’s National Grand Theater and the Vienna Philharmonic. In June 2010, the band released soundtrack to horror film Dev and ethno jazz record Deelt – albums with electronic elements and modern interpretations of folk songs.

Traversing layers of geographic, historic and musical complexity, Arga Bileg brings Mongolia’s contemporary music and choreographed dance all the way from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
– Sarah Thomas


October 25th, 2009


Kaoru Watanabe and Shoji Kameda played Japanese taiko drums at Town Hall Sunday night.

In one of the more unusual and interesting presentations of the Earshot Jazz Festival the Khoomei Taiko Ensemble presents cultural history while forging rare musical pathway by partnering ancient Mongolian and Japanese traditions.
Mongolian, Japanese, and U.S. artists come together for a fascinating collaboration, highlighting the popular Mongolian art of khoomei (throat singing) with the driving rhythms of Japanese taiko (drums). The Khoomei-Taiko Ensemble features Shinetsog Dorjnyam (khoomei), Shoji Kameda and Kaoru Watanabe (taiko), the legendary folk musician Tserendorj Tseyen (magtaal-praise songs, morin khuur-horsehead fiddle, jaw harp), Kaoru Watanabe (fue and Noh Kan-flutes) and Miki Maruta (koto – zither). The program also includes the captivating voice of Mongolia’s urtiin duu (long song) vocalist Khongorzul Ganbaatar, a featured artist in Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project.


Miki Maruta on koto.