Though the continuing success of his band, Tengger Cavalry, multi-instrumentalist and composer Nature Ganganbaigaali has become something of a one-man marketing firm for traditional Mongolian folk music, and its less orthodox sibling, Mongolian folk metal. Ganganbaigaali moved from Beijing to New York City for school several years ago (a route that's landed him at Carnegie Hall—multiple times), but his heart clearly still lies in the steppes, and he's become a tireless advocate for the scene and sounds he left behind.
Now, he's redoubling his efforts to bring Western attention to the his homeland with a new compilation of Mongolian and Kazakh folk-influenced heavy metal bands he's calling Sound of the Raging Steppe and will release via his own label, Tengger X Cavalry Recordings, on November 16. The compilation features songs from five bands from the Northern Chinese cities of Beijing and Hohhot, two places that share thousands of years of nomadic history.
This compilation likely isn't aimed at fans of extreme metal; rather, like Tengger Cavalry, these outfits lean more towards the rock, metalcore, and even nu-metal side of the metal spectrum. Metallica and Korn are major points of inspiration (peep Kazakh outfit Nan's funky bass lines), and breakdowns and clean vocals are de rigeur (as in Liberation's polished metalcore).
Suld and Tengger Cavalry hew closest to the compilation's folk theme, with both opting to sing in their native Mongolian and utilize throat singing and traditional instruments; Sintas also channel their Kazakh heritage via native instruments (which work surprisingly well within the context of their Pink Floyd-influenced psych rock).
“During Tengger Cavalry’s first eight years of making music and touring the US and EU, I gradually learned that there are still huge gaps of misunderstanding and a general lack of interest of modern music from East and North Asia," Nature Ganganbaigaali told Noisey. "These gaps aren’t necessarily intentional, but rather influenced by history and media perspectives. Many great Asian metal bands aren’t being discovered yet, partially due to the fact that the local Asian metal scene is still growing along with the local economy. Before it reaches the international music market, it needs to grow locally. That takes time, money and cultural interest in the long run."
"So, with this project, I wanted to use my own power and knowledge to bring to the world what Asia has to offer," he continued. "Not just Japanese music, but also Chinese, Mongolian, and Kazakh. We have a lot to offer that has yet to be recognized.”
Stream Sound of the Raging Steppe below.
Catch Tengger Cavalry live:
11/20 - Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
11/22 - Ottawa, ON @ Mavericks
11/23 - Toronto, ON @ Hard Luck
11/24 - Québec City, QC @ La Source De La Martiniere
11/25 - Cambridge, MA @ Sonia
11/26 - Niagara Falls, NY @ Evening Star Concert Hall
11/27 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Spirit
11/28 - Canton, OH @ Buzzbin
11/29 - Lexington, KY @ Cosmic Charlie's
12/1 - Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
12/2 - Chicago, IL @ Sleeping Village
12/3 - St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
12/4 - Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar
12/5 - Denver, CO @ Globe Hall
12/6 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
12/9 - Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
12/10 - Portland, OR @ Tonic
12/11 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill
12/12 - Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
12/14 - Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
12/16 - Dallas, TX @ Three Links
12/17 - Austin, TX @ Come And Take It Live
12/19 - Atlanta, GA @ Basement
12/20 - Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
12/21 - Lancaster, PA @ Lizard Lounge
12/22 - Sparrows Point, MD @ Yulefest @ Sparta Inn
12/23 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bazaar
Kim Kelly is feeling homesick on Twitter.