Mongolia with a difference
Mongolia's survival as an independent nation is little short of miraculous. For the first time in centuries the Mongolians, once rulers of the vast Eurasian steppe, are no longer colonial subjects of the Russian and Chinese empires. Only a century ago, so few Mongolians were left that it seemed their ancient, nomadic civilization might disappear altogether. Now the country has a democratic constitution, multiparty elections. Mongolia's paintings, music and literature are dominated by Tibetan Buddhism and nomadism. Tsam dances are performed to exorcise evil spirits and are influenced by nomadism and Shamanism. Outlawed during communism, they're beginning to be performed again. Traditional music involves a wide range of instruments and singing styles. In Mongolian khoomi singing, carefully trained male voices produce harmonic overtones from deep in the throat, releasing several notes at once.