EPI (1968, Ulaanbaatar) with his singing and music sustains the traditions of his native country Mongolia in a modern fashion. As a virtuoso throat singer and player of the morin khur, a typically Mongolian two-string horsehair instrument, Epi, born Enk Jargai, is extremely versatile. He cherishes the age-old nomad songs from his fatherland, but doesn't mind sharing the stage with jazz musicians or hiphoppers. Epi grew up in a small village with Mongolian nomads, but because of his penchant for music he ended up at the conservatory. In 1993 he played in Germany for the first time, which is now his adopted country. Epi performs worldwide as a soloist or with other musicians. So far he has released one solo-cd, entitled Hoirr Öngö, which means 'between two worlds'.(nov 2010)
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'I have a problem with the growing internationalisation of literature,' the British writer Tim Parks recently argued in an interview with Bas Heijne in NRC Handelsblad. On Thursday 20 January 2011 he opened the Winternachten Festival.
'Writers don't aim at local situations and local issues, because an international audience isn't interested in them. That makes the literature change.' And that's what worries Parks. He fears that literature will deteriorate into an impersonal message for a readership of merely outsiders. 'When you read those kinds of books you don't have the feeling of looking in on someone else, of ending up in another culture. That makes a lot of literature superficial and untruthful.'
In his Winternachten Lecture Tim Parks elaborated on his disquieting observation. Because many questions remain to be answered. What choice do writers have? Do they have to restrict themselves to the same patterns? Are cultures still so isolated that this is the result? And what about writers who have become estranged and left behind their native soil and culture?
Abdelkader Benali talked to Parks after his lecture and put his views to David van Reybrouck, Maaza Mengiste and Elif Batuman.
This was the first evening in the festival, and the official opening. Before the lecture by Tim Parks, writer Nelleke Noordervliet, chairperson of the festival board, gave the opening speech
Epi (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) grew up in a little village near the russian border. He studied at Music-Conservatorium of Ulaanbaatar from 1990 - 1992 and his teacher was the most known and best Moorin Hoor (Horsefiddle) player in Mongolia. Epi is deeply rooted into the traditional and nomadic way of life in Mongolia. (Epis father went into the steppe to raise horses, where Epi also has lost his heart at)Epi offers the smell and the beauty of the Mongolian steppe to the ears and the eyes of the audience. Anyone who knows the funny, lovely, cheerfull way Epi is, he regards also the small things in life... those obviously small things can take great effects on happy living.