Since expats and Mongols alike are excited that one of the girls from the ultra-popular Mongolian girl group, Kiwi, lives in my building, I decided to include this in the blog. The blond is my neighbor and we've exchanged "hello's" in the hallway. Hence, I have yet to learn her name. My father has already requested an autograph. The big thing about this group is that they are all half Mongolian. They are groundbreaking in that way, and they are one of the first groups to sing a song about HIV/AIDS prevention, a topic that is often seen as a non-issue in Mongolia (even though it's sandwiched between China and Russia, 2 countries with rapidly increasing HIV/AIDS rates). Additionally, they sing in English and Mongolian. I'll be sure to post an update when and if I meet this woman.
On a side note, the music industry has really expanded in Mongolia. There seems to be a resurgence of traditional music and some new groups hitting the scene. The Lemons- Mongolian Indy rock and Deegii-extreme violin playing, just to name a few. The music video (clip) culture here has become huge. All the national TV stations have a program where people can request videos and write messages to their friends using SMS. All the messages and requests then appear on TV. As you can see, after not having a TV for nearly 4 years, I have one now. I was amazed as to what things you can find on cable TV in UB! The most interesting for me is XJTV in which the programming is in Uighur or Kazakh. Because I'm generally fascinated with Central Asian culture, I find myself watching Uighur dombra players. I actually found a place in UB (with the help of my friend David-www.taimen.org) that makes traditionally Mongolian instruments like the Moriin Khuur. It was really cool to see the craftsmen making the instruments. Perhaps I'll invest in one and some lessons!