Northern Lights – Altai Khangai

A unique fusion blending the freshest Canadian jazz with the ancient sounds of the Mongolian steppe … “spell binding” … “The music was simply phenomenal”

Northern Lights performs spacious and interactive music reflecting the openness of the Canadian prairies. Altai Khangai performs traditional music from the vast steppes of Mongolia. The morin khuur (horse head fiddle), khuchir (two stringed violin), tuuvshuur (swan fiddle) and khoomii (throat singing) evoke images of the grasslands, deserts, mountains, horses and nomadic people of Mongolia, the land that knows no fences.
Together, Northern Lights – Altai Khangai play music that springs from the expansive landscape shared by western Canada and Mongolia.

Northern Lights – Altai Khangai commemorates thirty-five years of diplomatic relations between Canada and Mongolia. It began with a concert hosted by the new Embassy of Canada in Ulaanbaatar in October 2008, continued with a tour through Western Canada in August 2009 and ended with a concert for the Embassy of Mongolia in Ottawa in September 2009.

Northern Lights is a Calgary collective performing a mixture of traditional and contemporary jazz styles. Northern Lights evolved from a number of ensembles that have consistently worked toward the development of spacious and interactive music:

Keith Smith leads the Keith Smith Trio and is a member of The Amos Garret Jazz Trio. He has performed with the CPO Canadian premier of the Ainadamar Ensembles and Arias by Golijov, Hugh Frazer, P.J. Perry, Charlie Austin, Bob Day, Cheryl Fisher, Mark Sonksen, Paul Wertico, and the Int’l Trumpet Guild Conference (2008), with Doc Severinsen, Allen Vizzutti, Walter White, Wycliffe Gordon, Ingrid Jensen and others.

Simon Fisk is a jazz bassist who has recorded and performed extensively since the early 1990’s. He has worked primarily in the piano trio format with pianist Chris Gestrin, and most recently Jerry Granelli on drums. Since 2002, Fisk has released six CD’s as a leader on the Plunge Records label. Fisk has performed around the world at a steady pace since 2000, with Canadian pianist Michael Kaeshammer, and with his own trio.

Robin Tufts is a drummer and percussionist and accompanies the Program of Dance at the U of Calgary. He is a member of The Keith Smith Trio, Seanachie (celtic) and Klezmerovits (klezmer). Other credits include, The Lorna Maclachlan Group, Gary Wolfe, flamenco guitarist Peter Knight, Lynn Miles, Ann Gray, George Blondhiem, The Bob Day Quartet, the poet Sheri-d Wilson, Guido Basso, Alberta Ballet, Decidedly Jazz Dance, Dancers Studio West and Stage West.

Deb Rasmussen has performed at the Calgary Jazz Festival “Party in the Plaza” and the Sylvan Lake “Jazz at the Lake” Festival along with the Keith Smith Trio. In Calgary, she has been featured at the Cliff Bungalow Jazz Series and the BeatNiq Jazz and Social Club. She is a co-founder of the Mongolia Jazz Listening Library and the Giant Steppes Jazz Festival.

Altai Khangai is a group from Mongolia named after the Altai mountains and the khangai steppes. Formed in 1993, they have spent much time spreading their music through Europe and the US:

Ganbold Muukhai (Inflexible Metal) – Morin Khuur Instructor, College of Music and Dance, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Born in Uvs, in 1970, Ganbold’s family is a family of camel drivers and highly creative musicians, singers and dancers. Ganbold sings and plays the horsehead fiddle.

Ganzorig Nergui (Strong Heart) – Morin Khuur and Khuumii, Mungun Haraa Ensemble, Mongolia. From Selenge, his father was a herdsman. During their travels across the steppes he learned to sing and imitate the whistles of birds. Ganzorig plays morin khuur, tovshuur and tsuur flute.

Odontungalag Uranchimeg: Khuchir Instructor and Performer College of Music and Dance, and Mongolian National Song and Dance Academic Ensemble, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

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