Days from now, the human family will welcome its seven billionth member. Some say our planet is too crowded. I say we are seven billion strong.
We will only be able to exploit that strength for the benefit of all if our societies are built on tolerance, empathy and understanding. I therefore welcome the theme of this UN Day concert, sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations, which celebrates cultural diversity.
I well remember my visit to Mongolia in 2009. I stayed overnight in a ger, the one-room tent that traditional herders share with their family. I was asked to name a newborn takhi, an endangered species of wild horse in Mongolia. I called it Peace, “Enkhtaivan”, in Mongolian. I also enjoyed an evening of traditional entertainment such as we will experience tonight.
Our increasingly interconnected world affords endless opportunities for learning about and interacting with other cultures and traditions. Yet, those same networks also offer a too-convenient avenue for mobilizing the myopic hatred that can spawn a range of ills from discrimination to genocide. Our challenge is to build a better world -- more just, more tolerant, more inclusive. We all have something to give and something to gain by appreciating each other’s diversity and working together in common cause.
In these turbulent times, we must all seek unity of purpose. That is the very mission of the United Nations: to leave no one behind; to stand for the poorest and most vulnerable; and to stand against intolerance in the name of global peace and social justice. On this special day, let us unite, seven billion strong, in the name of the global common good.
UN Day ConcertTraditionally, UN Day is marked by an international concert in the General Assembly Hall.
The 2011 UN Day Concert will take place on Thursday, 27 October 2011, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall at UN Headquarters in New York.
In observance of the 66th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations Organization, the concert this year is sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations, and is being dedicated to Celebrating Cultural Diversity.
ProgrammeFeaturing the Mongolian National Horse Fiddle Ensemble and the National Academic Ensemble of Folk Song and Dance, the 90-minute concert will feature a selection of Mongolian traditional music, opera, contortion and dance, as well as contemporary pieces and world classics.
The concert will be available live and delayed on UN Webcast and Time Warner Cable Channel 150 in the New York City area.
The Horse-Head FiddleThe morin khuur is a traditional Mongolian bowed stringed instrument. It is one of the most important musical instruments of the Mongol people, and is considered a symbol of the Mongolian nation. The morin khuur is one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity identified by UNESCO. It produces a sound which is poetically described as expansive and unrestrained, like a wild horse neighing, or like a breeze in the grasslands.
Long-SongThis genre is called "Long song" (Urtyn duu) because each syllable of text is extended for a long duration. A four-minute song may only consist of ten words. Lyrical themes vary depending on context; they can be philosophical, religious, romance, or celebratory, and often use horses as a symbol or theme repeated throughout the song.
Throat SingingPerhaps the best-known musical form of the Mongols is the throat
singing tradition known as hoomii. Sung differently than traditional
vocals, this unique type of singing involves the production of two
distinctively audible pitches at the same time, including a low pedal
note, or drone, derived from the fundamental frequency of the vocal
cord vibrations, and higher melodic notes that result when the
singer's mouth acts as a filter, selecting one note at a time from
among the drone's natural overtone series pitches.
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