I was interviewed by the blog “La Voz de Siberia”. They were mainly curious about the calligraphy, and the hoomei! : )
It’s really gladly that I shared and answered to their questions ^^

The online version is available on their website HERE. (I think it’s in Spanish! :D)

The English version of the interview below:

What did you used to do before, when you lived in France, and how did you decide to travel to
Mongolia and live there?

Hello, so my name is Steve Morel, I’m now 29, and I arrived in Mongolia in October 2014.
Before, I was living in France, and I was mainly working on computer graphic things like cinema visual
effect, photography, TV video, website animation etc.. I also started a “spiritual” journey, and also
worked a lot on myself. I was providing some help / coaching from time to time to people.

 

It was hard to learn Mongolian language?

Well I’m far from fluent yet, even tho I can speak, and understand a bit now!
The first difficulty for me, as a French is the pronunciation (so basically the education of my hear, and
also the work out of lips / tongue / throat etc) as the French language is the “perfect” opposite of the
Mongolian I would say ^^ in term of sound, and mouth using.
Second is the structure of the language the grammar is really really different from the French, and the
logical mind to construct sentence is also quite different. Also most of words are a lot contextual, and
some words can take more than 10 meaning depending on the context… so it’s a lot to learn and
remember.
Finally as I learn the old script, I actually learn 2 Mongolian language kind of, as the Mongolian Cyrillic and
the Mongolian old script is almost like 2 different languages. Even thought the pronunciation is very
close the grammar and writing rules of courses are different.. ^^

 

As far as I know you´re learning not just traditional Mongolian music, but also the ancient Mongolian
Calligraphy. This art isn´t well known in Latin America, can you talk us a little bit about this matter,
about your experience and Masters?

Well, it’s a bit like a vague question, so I don’t really know where to start! :D
Mmh first thing that come to my mind, is that I’m really fascinated by this language and this writing.
Each letter symbolize a physical thing or a part of a human body. For example we have a letter that is a
“crown” and other one that is a “belly” an other one that is a “tail” like a horse tail, or a “bow” etc.. So
this is really interesting as each letter reflect kind of the main things of the Mongolian culture, and
tradition. Also this language was created so each Mongolian tribe could write to each other, even
thought they wasn’t speaking the same way, the writing was the same for all, so they could still
communicate. That was an action taken by Genghis Khan to help all tribe to unite.
Also some stories says that this writing is a writing that can be written fastest than any other, and a rider
on horse could write it with ease ehe. Also the writing goes from top to bottom, to show that Mongolian
are always strong on their feet, and they don’t lay down on the ground.
Of course there is much more to say about this language, but just like this, here is the first thing I feel to
share ^^;

 

Is there any relation between the arts of music and calligraphy?

I’d say as there is rhythm in the music, there is also rhythm in the calligraphy of course. Sometime I tend
to imagine that the way urtiin duu is sang is close to the shape of the calligraphy, but as I don’t know
enough in urtiin duu, and also not enough in calligraphy, I can’t confirm that, but sometime I got that
feeling! : ))

 

When I met you in Ulan Bator, you told me that you started to learn throat singing by yourself, but it
was very important to meet the traditional Mongolian masters in order to correct some mistakes. In
your opinion, which are the common mistakes of people who are starting to learn throat singing?
How long have you been practising xoomei?

Well I heard a lot of people singing overtone singing, and were talking about hoomei. Lot of people sing
in there nose, also very often the “strength” in the throat is not low enough and it end up being hurt, or
lacking of power… I’m not master so I don’t want to say to much! That’s just the main difference I could
see from when I was learning by myself, and were actually doing very wrong, and when I started to take
lesson with a hoomei master.
I started to “explore” hoomei maybe 3 years ago, but I wasn’t very regular on the practice, so my level is
not that high… I mainly focus on Morin Huur, and when I’ll be good enough with Morin Huur, I’ll get to a
decent level in hoomei as well. But mixing the two is not advised as both require a lot of dedication and
time, especially in the beginning.

 

Are you vegetarian? (if the answer is yes)… is it hard to be vegetarian in Mongolia?

I’m not totally vegetarian, I eat meat sometime maybe 2 to 4 times a month. I used to be a vegan, eating
only raw food, but here in Mongolia, I don’t feel that it is very “healthy”. Some vegetable, raw got a very
“strange” taste, so I basically cook everything, but as I’m not fond of meat, I try to reduce to the
maximum my meat consumption even tho here, the ecological impact is not as bad as in Europe, or in
USA as the herding is totally different, and organic. I eat some milk product tho as here it’s cheap, and
good in quality.

 

What are you planning to do in a future?

Well know I learn Morin Khuur with a personal teacher. My goal is to become a professional Morin
Huurch.
I’m learning the language and script as well, so I wish to graduate in my school, and after this one go
study in the art and music university to graduate in Morin Huur.
I also want to write some book about the different cultural song, poem, enigma, write them in
Calligraphy, and translate in French, and English, to somehow help save them, and also spread their
philosophy! :)
I wish also to make Morin Huur, but I’ll see in time ehe, I focus on today for the moment! : )