Uuhai / Mongolian Folk Rock Invasion Thrills Bloodstock

Bloodstock Festival 2023 – Sunday – Uuhai. If you are an early riser at Bloodstock on a Sunday morning, then there is usually something special on the main stage to grab your attention that may not be of the standard Metal fare that we become accustomed to over the weekend.

Bloodstock – Uuhai

On this occasion, we are introduced to the Mongolian folk rock band, Uuhai. This is their first visit to the UK, and on this performance, it won’t be their last. There is little known about Uuhai outside of their native Mongolia, and this was an excellent opportunity to experience something very different and possibly outside of our own musical comfort zone.

Dressed in their traditional clothes, flowing robes and leather vests and jackets, with their traditional instruments highly decorated, they are a sight to behold.

Uuhai - Bloodstock Festival 2023.
Uuhai – Bloodstock Festival 2023. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

What was pleasing was the amount of other like-minded souls who ventured out to see Uuhai, and it was noticeable how forty minutes later, many had been won over by this Mongolian horde.

Uuhai explains their intent and musical message. “Through impressive displays of power, using a tidal wave of ‘uuhai’, or hoo-rah in English, chants shouted in unison raised up to the blue sky, sun, moon, stars, earth, mountains, and waters, heroic men of ancient times have a long history of uniting their voices to increase their intensity as they forged into battle with little regard for their own lives.

“Shouting ‘uuhai’ in unison has roots as a spiritual mantra as a sign of goodwill leading to good fortune and was used as a way of releasing energy, emboldening one’s spirits and stimulating the elements of one’s body.”

So, to the music. Uuhai have an eclectic approach and have a crossover mix of Western-style rock music, drums, electric guitars and bass, alongside the use of their more traditional Mongolian instruments.

In particular, the Horsehead Fiddle, a two-string instrument with some similarities to a cello in the manner in which it is played. What is quite incredible is the virtuosity of the two fiddle players, as the range and dynamic they can get from the instrument is something else.

Uuhai - Bloodstock Festival 2023.
Uuhai – Bloodstock Festival 2023. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

Musically the band’s sound is very much entwined in the Mongolian culture, as not only are we treated to new sounds by virtue of the Horsehead Fiddle and Mongolian drums but also aurally via the sound of Mongolian throat singing. The sound is eclectic, and it takes a while to appreciate what is happening.

But as the band gets into the swing of the show and it becomes obvious that they are playing to an appreciative audience, they clearly relax and let the cross-musicality come to the fore. In one song in particular, apologies, but don’t ask for song titles, the guitarist was in an impressive lead dual off with one of the Fiddle players.

Otherwise, musically the sound was very rhythmic, with both a traditional Mongolian drummer and a standard rock drum sound playing alongside each other, producing a vibrant backbone to the band. The Horsehead fiddle itself has a very wide tonal range and can produce at the bottom end of the scale deep booming cello style sounds, and at the top end can scream like a banshee in pain.

All in all, this was an excellent start to the day, and testament can be paid to the band by the number of tee-shirts that they clearly sold off the back of that performance that were later noted around the arena.

Bloodstock Festival 2023 is held over the weekend of 10-13 August 2023. MetalTalk’s Paul Hutchings and Adrian Stonley report from Catton Park.

All Photography: John Inglis and Paul Hutchings

All MetalTalk Bloodstock Festival 2023 coverage can be found at  MetalTalk.net/tag/bloodstock-2023.

Weekend early bird tickets for Bloodstock 2024 will be available to purchase at the box office on-site for £165. This is the cheapest way to buy a 2024 ticket, minus any online booking or admin fees.

Bloodstock 2022 can be relived at MetalTalk.net/tag/bloodstock-2022.

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