The Hu released The Gereg on this day in 2019.
The word “Gereg” apparently originally referred to the passport Mongolian nobles carried with them in the Mongolian Empire.
Although this was the band’s first album, the Hu had already built up a fair amount of excitement with individual song releases. One of these, “Wolf Totem”, even topped Billboard’s Hard Rock Digital Song Sales; this made the Hu the first Mongolian act to ever top a Billboard chart!
Songs from this album feature themes such as respecting the natural world, Mongolian fairytales, Genghis Khan, and many things in between. Some words are taken from old poems or religious chants, set to music and unleashed onto the world. The band also primarily uses Mongolian instruments, notably the horsehead fiddle, and sing in in a throat singing style.
The album did quite well in the charts around the world, reaching #21 in the UK Albums Chart, #24 on the German charts, and #103 on the Billboard 200 chart in the US among many others. In Scotland, they even reached #7!
Not long after releasing the album, the band received the Order of Genghis Khan from the president of Mongolia in recognition of their work in promoting Mongolian culture abroad.
To me, there is something wonderful about the very idea of this album. The Hu managed to bring together elements of Mongolian culture and music both past and present with the more western form of rock ‘n roll. In doing so they have enriched their audience’s perception of the world around them in small ways and big, giving many otherwise-unaware music aficionados a peek into a country they might otherwise remain ignorant of. The confluence at which this group stands is emblematic of the best of the twenty-first century, and hopefully is a harbinger of a future in which cultures can come together in unexpected ways command respect across the world.
If you have not yet listened to this very unusual album, it’s available here on YouTube.