Songs in Many Tongues: ‘Kongurey’ (Mongolian)

‘Kongurey’ is a three hundred year old Mongolian song written in Tuvan, an obscure language spoken in outer Mongolia and southern Siberia. The song’s title translates as a question, “where has my country gone?”, hinting at a melancholic tune that mourns the loss of horses, a symbol of the steppes. In the following video, you’ll hear the song sung under a different title – ‘Hongu ur min’ or homeland. Here are the song’s lyrics in English:

Where are the sixty horses in my herd?
Where is the tether for my horse, Kongurey…
Where are the six regions of my homeland
Where is the village of my clan, Kongurey, Kongurey.

Where are the seventy horses in my herd?
Where are the manes of my horses, Kongurey?
Where are the seven provinces of my homeland?
Where is this place, Kongurey, Kongurey?

Where are the eighty horses in my herd?
Where are the eighty, Kongurey?
Eight nations saddled by my people
Where are the eight, Kongurey, Kongurey?

Where are the ninety horses in my herd?
Nine nations saddled by my people.
Where are the nine, Kongurey, Kongurey

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