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This is the second part of Steve Morel’s interview. Steve is a young Frenchman who fell in love with Mongolian culture and traditional musical instrument, the Morin Khuur. He used to live a “normal” life, working for a job the meaning of which he was starting to question. And then there was the change, a calling, an irresistible passion for the music he discovered. Following his heart, he soon made the trip to Mongolia and never quite came back: Steve is now living in the country’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar (Oulan-Bator in French). Today, Steve’s purpose is to spread and share his knowledge of the Mongolian culture and the Morin Khuur. Both his personal story and insights are fascinating. I really wanted to invite Steve on the podcast to help spread his passion and knowledge for a people and traditions that are little known and also because I admire him for all the hard work and dedication he puts into his projects – I know too well how much time and effort he is investing to give a voice to Mongolia.
In this second part, you’ll find out that Mongolia’s weakest point (according to Steve) is that its tradition is passed orally. It is therefore hard to find accurate information and sources and Steve is doing the work of an investigator to try to put together fragments of songs and stories for his book project of sharing and spreading Mongolian culture.
We’ll talk about Mongolian language and translation challenges (some Mongolian words don’t exist in French or English and require lengthy explanations). Steve will share how he learnt the language and has some advice for those of you who plan to visit a country in which you don’t know the language. He finds that there are 3 benefits to learning the language as soon as possible. Proverbs and idioms are often used in the Mongolian language – Steve will explain why and share his favourite proverbs with us!
At last, Steve will run us through the type of content you can find on his website. You’ll see he has many strings to his bow! Steve sells his own calligraphies, his music, his carved stone seals and much more. These as well as the crowdfunding for his book and donations help him live in Mongolia and keep his research work going so he can share his knowledge about the Morin Khuur and Mongolian culture.
arnaquer (fam.) = to swindle,to scam, to rip off
enquêteur, trice (n) = investigator
faignant(e),fainéant(e) (adj) = lazy
faire office de… = to serve as, to be used for
financement participatif (nm) = crowdfunding
impression (nf) = printing (book)
louange (nm) = praise, words of praise
mensuel, mensuelle (adj) = monthly
point faible (nm) = weak point
robe (nf) = (animal) coat
s’y mettre = to set yourself to doing something, to start
tampon (nm) = seal, stamp
tordu,e (adj) = distorted
yaourt (nm) = yoghurt
- Which 4 different languages and writings will Steve’s book include?
- When did Steve start learning the Mongolian language?
- In the Old Uyghur alphabet (vertical writing), in the modern Cyrillic alphabet, in English and in French.
- After 1 year in Mongolia, when his Mongolian girlfriend left the country and he didn’t have her to translate for him anymore!
Links & Resources
- Website: https://stevemorel.info/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ekion
- YouTube (Steve Morel): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiaA4K958ZFqno_4_wK75Dg
- YouTube interview mentioned in the episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRIXEorlANY
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