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listen to the music:

With the Horsehead Fiddle, Buttertea and Muttongoulash through Mongolia


“The fantastic images immediately inspired us. We have employed traditional Mongolian instruments in our composition in order to underline the adventures of the two caravans musically”, thus the two composers Boesel and Rolletter. “We want to make the viewers familiar with this one-of-a-kind country, its interesting people and the geographical and vegetative variety via our film music.”

“The road is the purpose” that is the motto of both caravans, which each consist of six Germans and six Mongolians. One caravan start on camel backs in the South and travels through the Gobi desert. The other, up in the North with the typical yaks, a cow breed. Both with the destination Karakorum, that has once been the empire of Dschingis Khan. As welcome, buttertea and muttongoulash is being served.

Each caravan receives its own, characteristic leitmotif, which in its musical variations accompanies the change of place North/South and helps the viewer to put himself in the picture. Through the film music, the emotions of the members of each caravan, such as joy, excitement, danger and conflict among each other, becomes understandable and more intensive. The composers have created all film music specifically for each scene.

In one of the first scenes, camel guide Tsetsgee throws tea-water into the air at sunrise, after an old Mongolian custom, and thus asks the Gods for protection for each human being and animal and especially for the caravan. The film music can be heard, featuring the Bawu, a flute, Yoochin, a Mongolian zither, Guitars and Handdrums, it has a mystical sound and conveys an idea of the expanse of the country, the nature and the spirituality to the viewers.

The “Shudrage“ accompanies the Southern caravan. This instrument sounds similar to a Banjo. The over- and undertone music is also typical for Mongolia. While the caravan is sitting, easing up, around the fireside, a Mongolian starts in singing this kind of music, which sounds rather unusual for Western ears. The composers have used undertone singing especially during the strains in the sandy Gobi desert, the ascend and descend of the work camels in the Changai-Massif, one of the biggest mountain ranges of Mongolia. Handdrums underline the effort of man and animal dramatically.

Countless riders dominate the images. They celebrate the greatest Mongolian festival, the Naadam feast. One of the protagonists, “Norman”, makes another attempt at the traditional wrestling. Here we can listen to a very interesting Mongolian instrument, the “Horsehead Fiddle,” a “Morin Khuur.” A square violin made from wood with a long neck that is topped by a horse’s head. It has only two strings and is usually played with a bow, which is stringed with hair from a horse’s tail. These sounds can mainly be heard in the music of the Northern caravan. The “Morin Khuur” mainly plays during happy scenes such as the wrestling, archery and in combination with the Domra, a Guitar and other percussion instruments, such as the “Hel Khurr,” a Jew’s harp typical for the country.

During the fantastic bird’s-eye shots, orchestra instruments have been used in order to achieve a greater abundance of sounds.

“Mongolei – Die Karawane” Mongolia – A Caravan is a journey, which creates wanderlust. The
Ziegler/ZDF-Film-Team have connected adventure, entertainment and knowledge and have made this exciting travel-documentary come true for the ZDF.

Score: Tobias Bösel und Siegfried Rolletter
Label: EuroVideo
Author: Thomas Radler
Producer: Nanni Erben, Ziegler Film GmbH & Co. KG
Prod.-Country: Germany
Prod.-Year 2005
FSK: without any restriction
Time: ca. 180 minutes
Genre: documentation
EAN-Code DVD: 4009750255261

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