(SRO) Mongolian rock act The Hu are honored to announce they've been named UNESCO's "Artist For Peace" at a ceremony earlier today (November 25) at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris, FR by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.
They are the first-ever artist in the rock/metal genre to receive this prestigious designation and follow previous "Artist for Peace" recipients including Celine Dion, Shirley Bassey, Sarah Brightman, Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller and World Orchestra For Peace. Having met the band on her official visit to Mongolia this past August, Azoulay has acknowledged THE HU's contribution to the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage and their support for the promotion of cultural diversity through music; these are qualities which resonate with UNESCO's values and work.
Founded in 2016 in Ulaanbaatar, The Hu have since amassed a global following and critical acclaim with their unique musical genre they call "Hunnu Rock." It fuses rock and heavy metal with styles of traditional Mongolian music, such as the art of Khoomei (throat singing), the tsuur flute and the Morin Khuur (horse-headed fiddle), all of which have been inscribed by UNESCO on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. "HU" corresponds to the root of the word "human being" in the Mongolian language. With this name, the group claim their humanist commitment. Through their music, they address the themes of gender equality, respect for difference, and the importance of protecting nature. They also promote linguistic diversity by using endangered regional dialects.
As an "Artist for Peace"--alongside UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors and Champions-THE HU will be designated for a renewable period of two years in which time they will help raise public awareness on UNESCO's mandate and programs among the general public and youth. THE HU will use their talent and reputation to promote UNESCO's values and objectives through upcoming events and projects to help bring a positive change.
THE HU's UNESCO "Artist For Peace" title lands alongside their previous awards as Cultural Envoy of Mongolia in 2019 and being the first group and 12th overall recipients of the highest state award in Mongolia, the Order of Genghis Khan, which was granted to the band by the President of Mongolia, Kh. Battulga in 2020.
"Mongolians have upmost respect for our history, culture and the language that was left to us from thousands of years ago from our elders and ancestors," says band leader and throat singer Gala. "The HU's goal and purpose is first and foremost to perform a unique genre of music that gives strength and power upon every listen. Secondly, it is to show the world Mongolia's nomadic and environmentally aware livelihood that has been passed down from previous generations and to inspire others to live minimalistic lives and enjoy life to its fullest. UNESCO electing the HU with 'Artists for Peace' designation shows their appreciation towards cultural diversity and heritage pieces that are of great value to Mongolians. The partnership between the HU and UNESCO will bring awareness towards every culture that is distinguished by their unique heritage and core values, so we are excited to be part of a movement that can improve and change so many lives."
"We sincerely appreciate being selected by UNESCO as part of their 'Artists for Peace' and understand the importance of the designation," adds tumur khuur and tsuur player Jaya. "From a very young age we have been practicing traditional music techniques and instrumentation such as long song, throat singing, horse head fiddle, tsuur and tovshuur, as we know the significance and impact of sharing one's culture around the world has to rest of the society. Our music delivers profound ideas that are understood in the subconscious mind while delivering hard rock and ethereal tunes. On the surface level, our lyrics and music seem to talk about basic yet important principles of human beings; on a deeper level, they share the preservation of cultures that are in danger of going extinct and allow us to be representatives for groups who have slightly different world perspectives than the modern world. This is a huge inspiration for us and part of our purposes as artists. Therefore, we will do everything in our power to be the inspiration for the cultures that are underrepresented and work with UNESCO to bring them the attention that they deserve."
"The Hunnu Rock genre's fundamental values are based on creating safe space in the modern music world for different traditional music styles that are only appreciated by certain geographical regions and has many cultural values to its techniques and history to its instruments," states THE HU's producer Dashka. "With UNESCO recognizing that effort and selecting The HU as their cultural ambassador to stand with what we believe in and what we are trying to accomplish is important to not only Mongolians, but to all nations around the world. In any tradition the lores and the music carry so much of their uniqueness and world view, and everybody agree that sometimes the only way to describe one's perspective is through music. Our goals and priorities will always be to create amazing music and safeguard the pieces of culture that were passed down to us from prior generations."