I’ve been clocking in so many hours at Mongolian Grill as both Grill Commander and Host with the Most…Energy, of course. So besides playing two odd houseshows with Coffey & the Lungs and practicing Commander Clark songs with a seven-person band (who has since played a Mongo set), I’m living stirfry. But that does NOT mean in ANY WAY that I am not having fun!
Some time ago, I YouTubed “Mongolian Grill” to compare restaurants, specifically Mongolian Grills in Mongolia. I found awesome videos with grillers performing blade tricks(!), but I also found results for Mongolian Throat Singing.
I found these unreal videos of Mongolians singing 3+ octaves, all at the same time. Intrigued, I typed “mongolian throat singing” into Google. From there, I obtained two albums entitled Hoomii / Urtin Duu and Enchanting Mongolia: Traditional Mongolian Music. Thinking it a smart idea to bring Mongolian music to Mongolian Grill, I transferred the albums to my phone to play them at the restaurant.
I work plenty of grill shifts…mainly closes. I listen to a lot of music to keep life interesting. Arcade Fire’s albums boost my concentrantion, energy and morale, +5 during rushes as well as +10 to life force with North American gothpunk singalongs. I play Rammstein’s live album “Völkerball” to boost my closing focus, agility and +10 to life force with German gothpunk singalongs. But I consistently play Hoomii / Urtin Duu and Enchanting Mongolia. I want to LEARN and PLAY music that can only be unnaturally Mongolian.
While I’d play the song “Edjin Duu” by Okna Tsahan Zam off Hoomii, I sang along to the melody while working, though I knew not the words. The track is interspersed with morin khuur (tradition Mongolian stringed instrument, used extensively throughout both albums), synthesizers, sounds of horses, campfries, ululating choruses with no defining words…I lated watched the movie Mongol and was overexcited at watching GENGHIS KHAN AND HIS BEST FRIEND SING THE SAME LYRICS. Isn’t it strange that at least 3 Mongolian employees have silver-green eyes? And that Genghis himself had shining, silver-green eyes, the very same found in Mongolian Grill?
There’s also a song like “Sygyt”, also off Hoomii, by Ondar Mongun-Ool that chugs and rolls like an old blues song just rolling on that one lone chord…excpet Mongun-Ool is STRUMMING A MORIN KHUUR and singing what must be AND ACTUION PACKED TRIP BY HORSE ACROSS THE ENDLESS MONGOLIAN STEPPE. I want to learn this song and play it, because even though I may be ignorant of the lyrics, I feel a strong emotion about the music. A Mongol life is nonstop atop those Great Plains…I know nothing but the music and Mongol. They both contain these expansive feelings of loneliness but strength and willpower in the face of the worst, which makes the work environment much more enjoyable.
One of the Mongolian Grill “favourites”, however, is a trio of songs: “Seruun Saichan Tshangai (Beautiful Cool Tshanga)”, “Urchan Chongo Salchi” and “Ar Chewtsh.” All of these were performed by the morin khuur and voice duo of Tsh. Batsaichan and N. Norovbansad. “Urchan Chongo Salchi” is about reliving the season of autumn, and the feelings that arise. “Ar Chewtsh” is about young love, and the lack of patience! Miss Norovbansad’s singing is SO INTENSE that it drives both customer and employee to a cringe of delight, amazement and disturbance all at the same time. Maybe I’m the only one feeling the “delight” part, but the music pumps me up as a griller and it’s better than being SILENT and GRUMPY when no one’s talking!!!
A fair amount of customers have complimented the music and I feel, as it is called Mongolian Grill, the restaurant might as well have some authentic Mongolian music. For me to learn and appreciate a completely different music style and to bring that appreciation to my own world of music, it is worth a bit more than just the compliments. Plus, I learned how to say “thank you” in Mongolian.
Here’s to you, dear reader.
- Commander Clark