The Western Folklife Center-a group dedicated to the experience, understanding, and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the American West-is packing up a group of cowboy and cowgirl musicians for the wilds of Mongolia, where they will share their musical and cultural traditions with the people. If you're wondering, "Why Mongolia?", the delegation, gone from August 28 through September 11, will be hosted by the same Mongolian horsemen and musicians who traveled to Elko in 2004 to perform at the 20th anniversary of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Call it a cultural return of favors.
The Western Folklife Center's cultural delegation is made up of members from around the West, including Bruce Stanger of Idaho (as well as U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia Pamela Slutz).
The group will travel to Mongolia to perform at venues in Ulan Bator and at villages across the countryside in central Mongolia-they will also travel on horseback across the Mongolian countryside with their cultural counterparts, the Mongolian malchin, visiting local encampments, sleeping in traditional Mongolian gers (tents) and documenting the commonalities and differences of both Western U.S. and Eastern Asian cultural traditions born of the saddle.
The trip will be documented by filmmaker Gail Steiger, photographer Kendall Nelson and Western Folklife Center founding director and radio producer Hal Cannon, who will be recording material for radio programming on NPR.