Fri, Jul 23, 2004 - Page 18 News List

Mongolian music without the grasslands

By Diana Freundl  /  STAFF REPORTER

Inner Mongolia Folk Arts Troupe brings a 32-member wedding procession to Taiwan for a recreation of the Ordos marriage ceremony at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall this Wednesday.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF HANLIN MASS COMMUNICATION CO LTD

The prospect of glimpsing a traditional wedding ceremony takes tourists to the grasslands of Inner Mongolia every summer, but not everyone can afford the time or money to experience first hand the culture and nomadic traditions that have been cultivated over thousands of years. The Inner Mongolia Folk Arts Troupe is trying to overcome this obstacle by taking its cultural performances on the road.

Minus the grasslands and herds of sheep and cattle, program director Dong Zhi-ming (董志敏) hopes his 32-member cast and crew can recreate the atmosphere and unique experience of a traditional Ordos wedding for local concert-goers in Taiwan.

"Of course, nowadays the wedding ceremonies that are usually performed are much simpler, but we want to perform the traditional ceremony, the way it was performed hundreds of years ago," Dong said.

It was after the establishment of the Yuan Dynasty (1271 to 1368) by Kublai Khan (Genghis Khan's grandson) that the Mongolian spoken and written language is said to have developed. This is also the time when the rituals and customs performed during the Ordos marriage ceremony flourished.

In order to accurately re-enact the ceremony it will be performed in Mongolian, but as the director insisted, "You don't know need to know Mongolian to understand. You can understand by watching," Dong said, adding that there would be an explanation in Mandarin at the beginning of the performance.

The traditional Mongolian opera-style song and dance that would normally take several days at a wedding has been condensed into three parts for a 90-minute performance.

The first part tells of the groom's travels with his friends and relatives to fetch his bride from her family's home. The second and longest portion of the show is the actual marriage ceremony with vows and blessings. The party concludes with congratulatory speeches.

Sponsored by the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commiss-ion, this is the third time the troupe has been invited to perform in Taiwan. In an effort to increase awareness and understanding of Mongolian culture, the commission holds various public events in cities around the island throughout the year.

Without much advertising and regardless of the nasty weather conditions (it rained heavily all day) the troupe's last performance in 2001 brought hundreds to Taipei's 228 park. This year's event is also free, but will be held inside at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. Further information, including additional performance dates is available on-line in Chinese at www.mtac.gov.tw.

Performance notes:

What: Inner Mongolia Folk Arts Troupe performance

(內蒙古民族曲藝團).

When: July 28, 7:30pm.

Where: Sun Yat-sen.

Memorial Hall (國父紀念館) located at 505 Renai Rd, Sec 4, Taipei (仁愛路4505).

Tickets: Free and available now at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.

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