Since September 2018, Mongolian rock band The Hu, has garnered more than six million views of their video “Yuve Yuve Yu” on YouTube. Coverage of the band’s meteoric rise was discussed on NPR Jan. 5, 2019. The article is archived on the website; the band was interviewed, as well. At the time, the band had earned more than two million views. In the intervening days, “Yuve Yuve Yu” has been viewed four million more times. The responses to the song have been overwhelmingly positive, and it is easy to hear why.
The Hu: changing Western expectations of rock music
Too often when Western audiences hear that residents of a country not typically associated with Western popular culture have ventured into rock music playing, the concept is often met with a mix of skepticism and curiosity.
At this point, The Hu avoids the skepticism part because all of the YouTube views. There is still, however, an overwhelming expectation for the music to sound like what rock fans have come to expect their favorite music to sound like. However, as one of the experts the NPR article quotes, The Hu have literally put their own stamp on a Western form. Therefore, The Hu plays Mongolian rock music. They are not a Mongolian rock band, if that makes any sense.
Once a person hears the band, it actually does. There is enough to the structure and a bit of the sound to remind Western audiences of rock music, but the traditional musical elements and the traditional throat sounds that lend a guttural quality to the track make “Yuve Yuve Yu” like nothing most people have ever heard. Mongolian fiddles are also used. Some parts of the song sound like 1970s Southern rock for just a bit. But mostly, The Hu are wholly original and definitely worth listening to for those who are aurally adventurous.
One update to the video for “Yuve Yuve Yu” is the placement of subtitles. Apparently, the subtitles have helped to enthrall audiences even more. The song decries the community’s ability to unite and the crumbling statues that honor ancestors that no one seems to care about. Viewers from parts of the world with ancient histories seem to appreciate the sentiments a great deal.
A bit about The Hu and what’s next
The band’s Facebook page is full of enthusiastic posts from both the band and new fans. The band seems genuinely pleased and humbled by the media coverage and fan response. Their followers number in the hundreds of thousands and this before an album is released. More than one fan posted a request that The Hu should hurry with their new release.
The band is comprised of four members (Gala, Jaya, Enkush and Temka) and are based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. With three stringed instruments and what appears to be some sort of woodwind, The Hu deepens what heavy metal and hard rock can be for audiences and the subjects it can approach. The band’s rise is exciting because rock in all its subgenres is aging. A fresh, approach unlike anything most people have heard is a great way for the genre to avoid stagnation. No word on the release date for The Hu’s recording.