The HU are bringing Mongolian music onto the global stage
12.02.2020

The HU are bringing Mongolian music onto the global stage

Words by Fergus Neal

Direct from Mongolia, The HU are the proud creators of a genre, ‘hunnu rock’.

Founded in Mongolia in 2016 by producer Dashka, along with members Gala, Jaya, Temka, and Enkush, The HU has found a powerful way to combine rock music with traditional Mongolian instrumentation. Elements such as the morin khuur (horsehead fiddle), tovshuur (Mongolian guitar), tumur khuur (jaw harp), and guttural throat singing coalesce for a distinctive rock experience.

“The HU is Eastern-meets-Western, old-meets-new, traditional-meets-modern,” says the band. “‘Hu’ is the root word for human being in the Mongolian language. We chose this name because of the inclusive nature of the word. We would like to share our music with everyone in the world without any exclusions.

“We are the only band in the world playing hunnu rock and we hope that we will not be the last one to play it. Hunnu rock is a blend of Mongolian traditional music and contemporary rock music.”

The HU’s first two videos ‘Yuve Yuve Yu’ and ‘Wolf Totem’ immediately went viral, garnering the band 30-million views. Since that explosion into the rock world, the band set themselves the task of completing their debut album The Gereg which was released in 2019.

“A lot went into that album – heart, soul, and a deep message. Our message to the world via our album is reminding the importance of showing gratitude to your parents, loving your homeland, protecting nature, loving and respecting women, respecting your country’s history and ancestors, and finally giving individuals an inner power and belief for their future.

“The HU sound is all about traditional Mongolian instruments and their unique sounds. We call our style ‘The Hunnu Rock’ which is a blend of Mongolian traditional music and contemporary rock music, which we blend very carefully.”

A key part of The HU’s success has been the uniqueness of their musical style, exposing audiences to a rich tradition of Mongolian music that perhaps most fans are unaware of before they see them live.

When asked what makes hunnu rock so captivating, the band point towards throat singing as a technique deeply embedded in the Mongolian culture. It’s something they’ve perfected through being exposed to the skill at a very young age.

“Throat singing has been a Mongol technique for generations. Our grandfathers, fathers, mentors always did it. We genuinely respected that it came from our ancestors and wanted to respect and honour them while attempting to master the technique.

“We practiced this style for years since we were kids to be able to control it, apply it and now we’re infusing it into our songs because it feels natural to us. It’s who we are, it’s what we know, it’s where we come from. It comes from an honest human place that we’re proud of and comfortable with.”

The HU have a combination of influences inside and outside of the Mongolian music canon and hopes an increasing number of Mongolian bands will break through using an eclectic array of inspirations.

“The Mongolian music scene is growing very fast, there are so many talented bands and artists ready to break out. We have used all sorts of inspirations and influences including Mongolian traditional music, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Slipknot, System of a Down, Rammstein, Tool and Lamb of God. We know that Australia has so many amazing bands and artists, our favourite is AC/DC.

“We love Download Festival and being in the presence of these legendary bands is our favourite part. Of course, we can’t wait to get on the stage to show the fans what we can do.”

You can catch The HU at Download Festival on Friday March 20 at Melbourne Showgrounds. Head to downloadfestival.com.au for tickets and more info.