There's never been better cultural ambassadors for Mongolian music than The Hu, and that isn't mere hyperbole. After the band began to rack up tens of millions of views on YouTube for their 'hunnu' (meaning 'human') music - a beguiling mix of Central Asian folk and western rock - the country's foreign ministry in Ulaanbaatar was quick to capitalise, appointing The Hu official ambassadors to the rest of the world world on behalf of the nation.
So it makes sense that the band's debut album The Gereg is named after the tablet carried by Mongol nobles and officials in the 13th century, which allowed certain privileges, like ease of travel and access to a supply of horses. It's an album that brings Mongol culture and history to the world.
"When we do this, we try to spiritually express this beautiful thing about Mongolian music," says The Hu's guitarist Temka. "We think we will talk to everyone’s soul though our music."
Below, the band take us through The Gereg, track-by-track.
Yuve Yuve Yu
"This song is about respecting our elders and protecting nature. We are asking our generation: 'why are we like this?'. We travelled over five thousand kilometres in 14 days to Western Mongolia off roads to make the music video. There were times we were freezing on top of a high mountains or sweating in the desert. We wanted to show the world the beautiful nature of Mongolia."
"We believe that everyone has a warrior in them. Through Wolf Totem we wanted to wake up those inner warrior in each of us so that you can face your fears and overcome them. This song is about facing and accepting the adversaries and coming out as a winner."
The Great Chinggis Khaan
"We wanted to tell the world our side of the story. He brought to the world so many good things such as postal service, diplomatic passport, international trading and etc. It was filmed at Burkhan Khalduun, the birthplace of Chinggis Khaan, in February of this year in minus 30°C degree weather.
"The cinematic video shares the story of Chinggis Khaan as he is portrayed in Mongolian culture as an inventor and a founding father of the country rather than the worldly view of him as a warrior and conqueror."
The Legend of Mother Swan
"This is a tale of the power of a mother’s love for their offspring. In Mongolian culture we deeply respect our mothers because they are the reason we’re here on earth. This song tells a story how a mother swan protects and saves her babies by sacrificing her own life. We felt like this message should be shared with everyone in this modern world."
"This is a farewell song for the warriors from their parents. Back in the days when Mongol warriors went to war, their parents would share their wisdom with them and wish for a safe return. When you listen to the song, you’ll hear in the distance the sound of a horse trotting, as the soldiers used to leave their homes for war with their horses."
"Shoog shoog is the calling of the Tengri [Mongol gods], when the shamans connect to ancestral spirits. This song is praising our sacred landmarks and offering our fate and bounty to the hands of the Tengri. With the upbeat tempo we’d like to inspire our listeners to get energised."
"The Gereg was the first diplomatic passport introduced to the world, by our ancestors. In the 13th century a person who had the Gereg could travel through many countries without any harm and restrictions. We named our album The Gereg so that we can travel to every country in the world freely and share our music with everyone. Our album is our passport to the world.
"This particular song contains the message about a warrior with a Gereg who travels the world and delivers the words of the Great Khaan to all."
"The lyrics of the song came from a poem written by Tsogt Taij, which was carved on a rock known as “Tsogtyn Khadnii Bichig” (Rock Inscription of Tsogt The Prince) in 1624. The message of the song is that the truth is the same everywhere. You could be the king in heaven or a king on earth but your judgement on good and evil is still the same."
The Song Of Women
"In our culture, respecting women is one of the most important things. They should be respected and loved everywhere in the world. Every woman is beautiful in her own way. We wanted to praise the women through this song and encourage them to be free and to pursue their dreams."