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World Morin Huur Master Chi Bulag
    2009-10-12 15:24:53     CRIENGLISH.com

During the upcoming Fankfurt Book Fair, visitors will be able to enjoy a morin huur performance by artists from China, the guest of honor of the book fair. The morin huur, or Ma Tou Qin in Chinese, is a traditional Mongolian stringed instrument. It is hugely popular among Mongolian people. Almost every Mongolian knows about the living Buddha that plays it. His name is Chi Bulag. Yao Yongmei has the story.

Chi Bulag [photo: cribeyondbeijing.com]

The morin huur is a Mongolian bowed stringed instrument. The name means fiddle with horse's head. It produces a sound which is poetically described as expansive and unrestrained, like a wild horse neighing, or like a breeze in the grasslands. It is the most important musical instrument of the Mongolian people. 

This melody is played by Chuur, the name given to an old morin huur, which has a history dating back some five hundred years.

The performer Chi Bulag is one of the very few folk artists who can play the ancient music instrument. He also happens to be the most famous morin huur master in the world. 

"People call me the master of the morin huur. That's a great honour. But I'm still myself, an ordinary man who loves playing the instrument. I'm 65 years old now, and I have been playing the morin huur for 58 years."

In 1944, Chi Bulag was born in a small village on Horchin grassland in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. At the age of three, he moved into a lama temple in Horchin as the chosen living Buddha of the temple. Here he good training in many disciplines, but it was music in which he excelled. 

Without anyone teaching him, this little boy learned to play the morin huur all by himself. Many years later, deeply impressed by Chi Bulag's performance, he was enrolled by a local art troupe. Thus he began performing on stage.

Besides, performing, Chi Bulag also composes music, claiming that inspiration comes out of his blood.

This is "Wan Ma Ben Teng", or "Ten Thousand Horses Galloping ahead," one of the most famous artworks of Chi Bulag. He created the piece after watching a fierce horse race, in which one horse blundered over the finishing line and then collapsed and died because of overstraining itself. Listening to the music, you can feel the force of the battle as the tone rises and falls. 

To introduce more passion into the sound produced by the morin huur, Chi Bulag modified the fiddle's design. Thanks to his efforts, the morin huur now has a wider range and a louder volume. Chi Bulag proudly says the morin huur he made can play almost every kind of music. 

Performing in many countries, Chi Bulag says he's received a warm welcome from every city he's visited and now has over 20 thousand students worldwide. He says nothing will stop him playing the morin huur, and spreading the sound of peace to all four corners of the world.

For China Now, I'm Yao Yongmei.



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