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Shaman

Country: Mongolia

Genres: R&B/Pop/Techno/Electro/ Along with a cover of the famous song

Shaman: Mongolia provided me with more opportunities than France did

You may have heard his music in several clubs in Ulaanbaatar, or maybe over the radio. And yet, seven years ago, DJ Shaman had never been to Mongolia. He started turning tables when disco began. Several years later, after having settled in Ulaanbaatar for quite some time, he has prepared a new album made up of different genres, representative of his work so far.

He received me in his apartment and laughed at me for having a notebook and a pen in my hand. This meeting was to be too casual for taking notes. He took me through a journey of his songs and playlists of the past few years. What I found was music that was a blend of different genres, creating something quite unique, somewhere between France and Asia. This is not that surprising, considering his own Eurasian origins: he has a German-Swiss grandfather, a Vietnamese grandmother, a Cambodian father and a French mother. His background pushed him to travel and work in several countries, including France, Malta, Greece, Portugal, Macedonia, Cambodia, Dubai, Japan, China and now Mongolia.
DJ Shaman has been playing at Max Club, Brix, Centro Club, Sky Lounge and iLoft for several years now and has participated in numerous Daka MNG events. He named the nightclub Metropolis, which is considered to be the most stylish place in the city for a night out.
I asked him how he would describe his music, he replied that it was “a blend of commercial, techno, tech-house, progress-house, deep-house and dance”. And he laughed at me again for not really understanding those terms, a kind of French humor which mainly consists of making fun of others and oneself.
“Mongolia provided me with more opportunities than France did”
Some might say that he is a sort of ambassador for the French language, as he has sung in French in several of the duets he’s done with some of Mongolia’s most famous (and emerging)and singers, such as pop divas Saraa, Serchmaa “Sally”, Bayarsetseg and Enkhzol. DJ Shaman is Cambodian but also French, and he acknowledges the influence of the “French Touch” on his own music. He cites French artists such as David Guetta, Laurent Wolf, Justice and – of course – Daft Punk as important influences, and international DJs like Testo and Avicii. But his inspirations are as diverse as his background. He also talks about Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder and the bands Chic and Earth, Wind & Fire as significant contributors to his own musical culture.
He insists that Mongolia has offered him more opportunities than France. According to him, the electro scene in France is packed with too many people, which makes it very hard to make it through to the top. On the other hand, Mongolia provided him with an emerging nightlife scene and a very enthusiastic public. “Mongolians are very receptive to electro music. They know what is good. They have very good taste”, he admitted.
When the French Touch meets Mongolian traditions
DJ Shaman did not solely want to bring the French Touch to Mongolia. “I wanted to incorporate elements of Mongolian traditional music into some house music too. It works both ways; it is by combining the best elements of the two universes that you get something exceptional.” It is in that mindset that he sang the duet “Nis, Vol, Fly” with Naran, a song in Mongolian, French and English, which mixes ethnic house beats with some khomii (throat singing). The video for the song is set in the Mongolian countryside and pays tribute to traditional Mongolian culture, featuring eagles and traditional clothing. He was also very honoured to have been given the opportunity to work with famous Mongolian composer, Balkhjav, on the soundtrack of the movie Tsavchuur.com. About working in Mongolia in general, “I am immensely thankful for what Mongolia brought to me, this country will be forever in my heart.”
It’s now been seven years since he first set foot in Mongolia and he still has a lot of projects in mind. For example, in March 2014 he will be a juror on the TV show “Universe Best Songs” for the fifth year in a row. He is also preparing a new album, which will include his most famous songs along with several new ones. In line with his work so far, the album will be in French, English and Mongolian and will include different musical genres such as R&B, pop, techno and electro, along with a cover of the famous song, Besame Mucho. He confessed, “I would also love to do a cover of Georges Moustaki”, a French singer of the 1970s and 1980s. Meanwhile, you can find him “working”, as he says it, in several Ulaanbaatar clubs all year-long. “I enjoy it so much I barely consider it working, but it’s true!”

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