Mongolian folk metal band The Hu are the first group from the rock genre to receive the Artist for Peace accolade from Unesco during a ceremony at its headquarters in Paris.
The director-general of Unesco, the UN cultural organisation, first met the eight band members during a visit to Mongolia in August, in which their musical style and ideas immediately resonated with the organisation’s values and work.
The Hu join a long-list of stars committed to bringing cultures together and supporting artistic creation, including Dame Shirley Bassey and Sarah Brightman.
The band, which was founded in 2016, created a unique music genre called Hunnu rock, fusing heavy metal with traditional Mongolian music such as throat singing.
Through their music, The Hu address themes of gender equality, respect for difference and the importance of protecting nature as well as promoting linguistic diversity by using endangered regional dialects.
Band frontman Gala said: “Mongolians have utmost respect for our history, culture and language that were left to us from thousands years ago through our elders and ancestors.
“The Hu band’s goal and purpose is to first perform a unique genre of music that gives strength and power every time you hear.
“Secondly, to show the world the Mongolian nomadic environmentally aware livelihood that was passed down generations ago, and to inspire others to live minimalistic life and enjoy life to its fullest.
“Unesco bestowing on The Hu the Artist for Peace designation shows their appreciation towards cultural diversity and heritage pieces that are of great value to Mongolians.
“The partnership between The Hu band and Unesco will bring awareness towards every culture that is distinguished by their unique heritage and core values, so we are excited to be part of a movement that can improve and change so many lives.”
The Unesco Artist for Peace recognises The Hu’s role in promoting heritage and the group will become an ambassador for their programmes and their messages.
Audrey Azoulay, director-general of Unesco, said: “Traditional knowledge has much to teach us, for instance in appreciating the beauty and fragility of nature.
“This message is at the heart of the Hu’s songs and Unesco’s work.
“I am delighted that we will be able to count on The Hu’s voice to share this conviction on the global stage, using the power of music as a universal language, especially with young people, who will be the ones to take these values into the future.”
In recognition of their contribution to the promotion of Mongolian culture, members of The Hu were also awarded the Cultural Envoy of Mongolia certificate in 2019, and the Order of Genghis Khan, the highest state award, in 2020.
The band kick off their UK shows in Manchester on November 28 culminating at London’s Roundhouse on December 9. They will also perform in Leeds, Nottingham, Cardiff, Birmingham, Dublin, Belfast and Glasgow.