Höömii, The Voice of Wind

immersive sound installation - Germany, 2020
duration: 51 min. (loop)
soundscape composition, 8-channel sound system, sand, lights
Höömii, The Voice of Wind is the artistic result a field recording expedition to Mongolia where Alfredo Ardia investigated the relationship between the sounds of nature and the traditional Mongolian throat singing style Höömii. His expedition included travels from Ulan Bator to the most remote places in the west of the country. Recordings were made of undisturbed natural soundscapes as well as of throat singers who explain, in Mongolian language, the connection between Höömii and the sounds of animals, rivers, mountains and wind. The original sound recordings have been used to compose the soundscape piece and presented in the sound installation.

Höömii is a vocal tradition in which the human-nature relation is strongly audible. It is the result of the nomadic and pastoral lifestyle still alive in Mongolia. While herding animals alone in the steppe, nomads would throat sing to communicate with animals, make homage to the natural spirits or to communicate with each others through large distances. Master N. Tserendavaa says that Höömii has been inspired by listening to the deep sound wind blowing between mountains. And that the mimicry of natural sounds of rivers or the voice of animals are at the base of this vocal art. Using his voice, he demonstrates how to throat-singing beginning from the imitation of camels voice. Throat singer D. Sengedorj shows how monks used this vocal technique while reciting Tibetan Sutra texts. He explain that Höömii is about understanding nature and be in contact with it. It is about listening to the natural environmental sounds and not only about learning vocal techniques. Talking with nostalgia, he pictures the calm land where he grew up and tells how development is changing it.

“There was no television, no radio
and just few cars a month passing by.
I could only hear animals and human voices.
Nature was pure, so calm and beautiful.
It was authentic: nobody was disturbing it.
That is why I learned Höömii.”


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Throat-Singers: Baatar Suren Chadraabal - Tserendavaa Dashdirj - Sengedorj Nanjid
Speaking Voice: Tserendavaa Dashdirj - Sengedorj Nanjid
Guide/interpreter in Mongolia: Huandag Bija - Marima Kuoreli
Translator: Khaliun Gankhuyang.

Composed at SeaM – Studio for Eectroacoustic Music Weimar under the supervision of prof. Robin Minard.

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Höömii, The Voice of Wind has been awarded with the Medienkunstpreis 2020 (III) - Bauhaus Universität Weimar. PAGE