Sunset Park’s Suvda Khereid brings Mongolian folk singing to Beat of the Boroughs
Suvda Khereid of Sunset Park is a Mongolian singer who has performed in Japan, China and across the United States. She is featured in the Center for Traditional Music and Dance’s Beat of the Boroughs: NYC Online series, which is showcasing the artistry of 54 of the city’s leading immigrant performers and diverse cultural traditions from around the world.
Your musical journey – when did it start and how?
I was born in Shilingol, Southern Mongolia, also known as Inner Mongolia, a place with Mongolian nomadic culture, migration lifestyle, and folk music traditions. Since elementary school, I have participated in many schools and public theater performances. I have begun studying vocal performance with a professional teacher in a musical college in Southern Mongolia and continued to practice singing in Japan while studying at Tohoku University. I have performed extensively in China, Japan, and the United States.
What drew you to Brooklyn?
My host family (homestay) was in Brooklyn when I first arrived as a student in New York. Whenever I see the sunset from my neighborhood of Sunset Park, it makes me feel so excited because on the other side of the hemisphere the sun rises in my hometown; I can contact my home through the sun.
What makes your music distinctive?
Mongolian folk song long embraces a comprehensive nature of all national traditions and customs, including history, culture, aesthetics, ethics and philosophy. The long song (Urtiin duu) is unique traditional music art. Regarding the long songs, not only are the songs long, but each syllable of text is extended for a long duration. Living in New York with Mongolian heritage may not be easy to recognize, but a determined ambassador for the diaspora uses our traditional songs and music to introduce Mongolia and Mongolian culture.
What inspires your musical repertoire?
Mongol nomadic tradition worships nature and living harmoniously with nature. That is the reason we have many folk long songs about mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, steppes, grasslands, horses and animals. It is the prolongation of traditional folk songs where harmony aligns with nature. Brought up in this tradition, all of this inspires my musical world.
How has the pandemic affected you?
Coronavirus around the world makes social distancing a growing sense of alienation and isolation in society in general. Therefore, now we are being asked to actively practice social distancing and isolation. In the face of uncertainty and panic, music is a social balm for soothing anxiety, bringing hope, strength, peace, and love, and enhancing community connections.
How are you reaching your audience now?
I am reaching my audience through social media such as Zoom, Facebook or YouTube. We had celebrated the 33rd Annual Chinggis Khaan Memorial Ceremony with an online performance on November 22.
What does it mean to you to be part of the Beat of the Boroughs initiative?
It is my great honor to be part of Beat of the Boroughs during this difficult time. I thank the Center for Traditional Music and Dance for giving me this opportunity to represent my culture and music, and also thank the Brooklyn Eagle.
You can view Suvda Khereid’s presentation on CTMD’s YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/CTMDProgramsConcerts or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CTMDnyc. Learn more about Suvda on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Suvdakhereid.
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