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When a Beijing-based punk rocker named Ilshi heard throat singing for the first time, he was determined to investigate his family's Inner Mongolian heritage. He journeyed there, met two traditional musicians named Hugejiltu and Bagen, and not much later Hanggai was born. Based in Beijing but devoted to traditional Mongolian songs, Hanggai has made waves in a country that's known neither for its kindness to ethnic minorities nor its interest in its own past. But with success comes the leisure for reflection, and Hanggai's spacious, undeniably gorgeous music has won it many fans -- no doubt in part because of the excellent production, which gently infuses the songs with drums, bass and electric guitar without ever overwhelming or cheapening them. The group signed with World Music Network in 2008 and released the excellent Introducing Hanggai that year.
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