In the course of our research, we have built long-lasting relationships with Mongolian herders from various regions who continuously supported our work and helped us conducting fieldwork. On this page, we want to introduce some of our main partners and express our deepest gratitude to them. At the bottom of this page, you will furthermore find a collection of pastoral songs that you can listen to.
Dalaimyagmar was born and raised in a herder household in Alag-Erdene district in northern Mongolia’s Khövsgöl province. Today, she and her husband Byambaa live in Khatgal where they herd yaks. While their livestock comprises yaks, cow-yak hybrids (khainag), horses, and a smaller number of sheep and goats, they exclusively milk their cattle.
During conversations about pastoral dairying, Dalaimyagmar would always stress how important milk and dairy is for human health, and as a passionate dairy woman, she is constantly experimenting with her yak’s milk and inventing new recipes. One of her homemade specialties are deep-fried dumplings filled with a mixture of cheese and wild onions.
Baasan is a yak herder who lives in Khatgal. While she was trained and worked as a nurse during socialist times, she and her husband Myagmarjav turned to livestock keeping as a livelihood that provides both subsistence and income.
Every summer, Baasan’s granddaughter visits her at her summer pasture in order to help with herding and milking cattle, as well as learning dairying techniques. Happy about the support from her granddaughter, Baasan is eager to pass on her dairying knowledge and skills to younger generations.
Namsrai is a young herder in Saikhan distirct, Bulgan province. His herd comprises horses, cattle, and sheep and goats. Saikhan district is popular for its high-quality airag (fermented mare’s milk), which is produced from early July until late September and consumed on a daily basis by people of any age. In order to make airag, mares have to be milked between seven to ten times a day in approximateley one-hour-intervals. Accordingly, airag is abundant at Namsraisüren’s household and drinking the fizzy alcoholic beverage is often accompanied by playing games such as dembee and khuruudakh, as well as by singing songs. Namsraisüren is highly talented in all of these disciplines.
Songs From The Mongolian Steppe: A Dairy Cultures Compilation
During our fieldwork, we have recorded a number of Mongolian folk songs sung by our collaborators and created a short album from this collection.