It is not typical for a Mongolian Folk-Metal Band to take the world by storm, but that is exactly what the Ulaanbaatar-grown metal band The Hu has done. After forming in 2016, they gained global recognition in 2018, mostly through the power of word-of-mouth and YouTube.
The Hu’s first two singles, “Yuve Yuve Yu” and “Wolf Totem,” have 42 and 43 million plays on Spotify respectively and topped the Billboard Music’s Mainstream Rock Chart at 4 and 5. Their first album The Gereg, dropped in 2018 and their second, Rumble of Thunder, in 2022. The band was also featured in the original music of the major video game release of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Oder with their single “Sugaan Essena.”
The Hu completed their second tour of North America in early 2022 and then went on to hit just about every major city in Europe. They have also collaborated on multiple singles with popular American musicians and band, such as Alice in Chains, Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach, and Lzzy Hale of Halestorm.
The Hu consists of 4 members who each play a traditional Mongolian folk instrument: Galbadrakh “Gala” Tsendbaatar plays the morin khuur (left), Nyamjantsan “Jaya” Galsanjamts plays the tumur khuur, Enkhsaikhan “Enkush” Batjargal plays the morin khuur, and Temuulen “Temka” Naranbaatar who plays the tovshuur (right).
Each member can also sing in the technically difficult khööme style. This traditional Mongolian singing allows the performer to produce multiple tones at once in a manner that can strike one has both strange and offsetting but also beautiful and almost supernatural. The Hu incorporate this to the hard metal music with deep, raspy lyrics.
The Hu infuse Mongolian traditional poetry, lore, and pride into modern metal music. They sing of conserving Mongolian culture, making many references to Genghis Khan and the Huns, the previous famous and infamous dynasties that originated in Mongolia. This particularly felt in one of their most popular songs, “Yuve Yuve Yu.”
The Mongolian government has awarded The Hu the highest award that can be given by the state, the Order of Ghengis Khan for their efforts of preservation of this art and the promotion on Mongolian culture around the world. The Hu’s unique mixture of Mongolian folk music and metal make for a combination which pushes your mind to envision what life would have been like during the reign of the Mongol and Hun Empires.