'LIVE FROM UB - Rock & Freedom In The New Mongolia'
(Documentary by Lauren Knapp)
Release Date: Wednesday 24th February 2016
Landlocked between between Russia and China and living for many years under communist rule for the large part of the last century, Mongolia has remained a mysterious country to the outside world who only get to hear about legendary tales about Genghis Khan and the nomadic way of modern life.
Mongolia is certainly not known for its rock music. Western bands, with the exception of the Scorpions rarely play there, and for bands based in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, playing your nearest out of town gig could be as far away as Beijing in China.
Despite its vast land, Mongolia only has a population of six million, half of which live in the capital city, so even finding like-minded musicians to form a band can be a struggle.
Article continues below...
This documentary film by Lauren Knapp explores the history and culture of the country and follows a young rock band called Mohanik as they attempt to make their second album by recording it outside in the open of a distant monastery and uniquely trying to capture the spirit and nature of their homeland.
It's an uphill task for many Mongolian rock bands as many natives still prefer to listen to Western music.
There's some startling revelations when you hear that the first Western bands that were popular in Mongolia were Smokie and ABBA whose tapes you could only get through the black market during times of communism.
It's interesting to note how the film resonates that freedom of speech and rock music are heavily connected with the song 'Let The Bells Ring' that helped people unite to bring democracy to the country.
Altan Urag are another band featured in the documentary who mix modern sounds with traditional instruments and use the unique skill of throat singing which you must hear.
'Live From UB' is a good insightful account of an often misunderstood country that culturally has plenty to offer.
Live From UB will be making its UK Premiere as a part of Asia House Film Festival at Asia House on Wednesday 24 February, 18.45. Asia House Film Festival takes place from 22 February to 5 March at London venues. See asiahouse.org/ for more details.
MetalTalk's Mark Taylor emerges from his ger in Outer Mongolia after watching the film 'Live In UB' and gives it the horns-up