Home Institution

University of Pittsburgh

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Mongolia: Geopolitics and the Environment


This project will examine the ways in which the self-proclaimed Mongolian “folk rock” band, Altan Urag, combines elements of both traditional Mongolian and Western music and culture in order to recast and recreate Mongolian tradition. These new representations of Mongolian tradition occur within the context of a young and rapidly developing democratic nation which looks both deeply into its own past to construct a strong national sense of identity and looks increasingly outward to the international community with aspirations of establishing itself as a recognized and respected member of that community. Altan Urag’s new representations of Mongolian national heritage are both audial and visual in nature, and occur in live performance, album packaging, and digital mediums. Accordingly, this investigation will use data from all three mediums, as well as personal interviews with the band members and with persons related in various capacities to the band. In order to analyze these diverse data, both musical and sociological analytical methods will be used. The result will be a comprehensive understanding of the interaction between Mongolian tradition and Western ideas in the music of Altan Urag on all levels of musical experience.


Arts and Humanities | Music | Sociology | Sociology of Culture