The HU now has something in common with Celine Dion and Herbie Hancock. They share the "Artist For Peace" title as designated by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
The Mongolian folk-rock act was given the honor today, Nov. 25, at a special ceremony in Paris at UNESCO's headquarters. Notably, The HU are the first rock or metal act to receive the prestigious acknowledgment.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay visited the troupe in their native Mongolia in August and remarked on the band's "contribution to the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage and their support for the promotion of cultural diversity through music," per a press release. "These are qualities which resonate with UNESCO's values and work."
Of course, the act is notable for combining rock and metal styles with traditional Mongolian folk sounds like Khöömei (throat singing), the tsuur flute and the Morin Khuur (horse-headed fiddle) to create a truly unique style of music.
Band leader Gala said of the honor, “Mongolians have upmost respect for our history, culture and the language that was left to us from thousands of years ago from our elders and ancestors. … The HU’s goal and purpose is first and foremost to perform a unique genre of music that gives strength and power upon every listen. Secondly, it is to show the world Mongolia’s nomadic and environmentally aware livelihood that has been passed down from previous generations and to inspire others to live minimalistic lives and enjoy life to its fullest."
The band shared some backstage moments from the ceremony and posted about the special moment on Facebook, sharing, "Thank you so much for our amazing fans – The HU family for this incredible day! Your recognition and support helped us bring Hunnu Rock to world stage. We will continue to bring extraordinary music and show our gratitude through our talent. You are truly magnificent people!"
As an "Artist for Peace," The HU will help raise awareness of UNESCO's platform and promote its values and objectives at upcoming events, all in the name of making positive change, much like the band does through their music. ("HU" is the root word for human being in the Mongolian language.)
Their latest honor follows previous distinguished titles including being named the Cultural Envoy of Mongolia in 2019 and, in 2020, becoming the first group and 12th overall recipient of the highest state award in Mongolia, the Order of Genghis Khan.
It's been a big year for The HU. In addition to making their debut at Coachella, the act had a headlining trek across North America and supported Five Finger Death Punch and Megadeth on other dates. As well, their second album Rumble of Thunder with explosive track "This Is Mongol" was released in July; a deluxe version is forthcoming in summer 2023.