Delehei’s studio in Hohhot is a place where some of the most talented musicians from Inner Mongolia record their albums and entrust him with his musical input. He has been making music since he was about 5 when he lived in the grasslands. He can perform various styles of throat singing, plays morin khuur, dopshuur, jaw harp, flute, and several other instruments -some of which he invented. When I arrived in Hohhot it took us only one day to get prepared for a performance video, and I was helped by talented cousin Wuliyas, a second camera guy. When the shooting was over I was just glad to have witnessed his music at such a private event. (an audience that consisted of a sound guy, and two cameramen) His sound is very shamanic yet new. His throat singing, as he describes it best, is stuck right in between Tuvan and Mongolian.
The story of how we met is quite an interesting one. I knew nobody that lived in Inner Mongolia, but when I competed at the throat singing symposium in the Republic of Tuva a couple months ago I met several throat singers from around the region. Though none of them spoke English they gave me the contact info of a friend of theirs that lives in Chicago, who then asked me "there's a great performer but... Do you speak Mongolian, Mandarin or Japanese by any chance?" So he gave me Delehei's info. Since him and I communicate in Japanese only, this has made me realize that I'm getting closer and closer to Japan. I'm going to try my best to promote his music as much as I can, because it represents everything I wish to see from the newer generation traditional musicians.
Aomori is a city on one side of the Tsugaru Strait, and it homes the traditional Japanese shamisen. Chikuzan Takahashi, who spread the instrument across the country, was from the area and his first student was Nishikawa Yoko. Her performances are full of songs and anecdotes of this tradition, half the time she speaks in the thick Aomori dialect impersonating her teacher. If you ever end up there you must experience this piece of living history, and if not just find Chikuzan Takahashi's performances in black and white on YouTube.
I became friends with Koichi Ohnishi, the director for the award winning film Sketches Of Myaku, in Hakodate a few days before he and I decided to travel together to Aomori to film Nishikawa’s performance. During the storytelling sections in between the many songs she performed that evening, Nishikawa addressed me “Toru-ko” (her slang for ‘Turkish-boy’).