Mongolian singer Enji returns after her much-lauded 2021 album Ursgal. On Ulaan she has found new creative companions with drummer Mariá Portugal and clarinetist Joana Queiroz, both from Brazil, joining the existing trio to create a blend of grounded Folk and brooding Jazz. Shared experiences across cultures and questions of belonging and affinity became essential themes for the album.
As Enji continues her journey of self-discovery, she continues to grow and adapt into new roles. With Ulaan, she bares more of her heart than we’ve seen from her yet, but she’s still got more to give—as a vocalist, a bandleader, and most importantly, as a storyteller.

Enkhjargal Erkhembayar (vocals)
Joana Queiroz (clarinet, bassclarinet)
Paul Brändle (guitar)
Munguntovch Tsolmonbayar (bass)
Mariá Portugal (drums)
Trumpet on Taivshral by Matthias Lindermayr

Composed by Enkhjargal Erkhembayar and Paul Brändle
Encanto by Joana Queiroz
Temeen Deerees Naran Oirhon by Adarsuren P., Sergelen H., Shagdar J.
Recorded by Jan Krause at Mastermix Studio
Mixed by Martin Brugger
Mastered and cut by Andreas “Lupo” Lubich
Produced by Martin Brugger
Creative Direction and Design by Maximilian Schachtner
Video-/Photography by Lara Fritz and Hanne Kaunicnik
Text by Shy Thompson
Styling by Laura Fries and Carolin Schreck at FRECK
Supported by Initiative Musik gGmbH with project funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media
©℗2023 Squama

  • The Guardian

    Global album of the month: Elegant and powerful twist on traditional Mongolian music

    The Ulaanbaatar-born singer shows there is more to her country than throat singing: her dextrous voice sits between jazz improv and ceremonial song. Mongolian music has a long history of producing captivating vocal styles. The best-known is throat singing – a reverberating technique that produces multiple pitches during a single phrase. Raw, earthy and a predominantly male pursuit, throat singing is more of a droning instrumental sound than a means of conveying lyrics. For the Ulaanbaatar-born singer Enkhjargal Erkhembayar, AKA Enji, there is another side to her country’s song – a delicate, dexterous vocal that sits between jazz improvisation and the ceremonial long song (Urtiin duu), a vibrato-laden style of singing where syllables are drawn out to create melismatic lines that can spend minutes expressing single words.
    Born into a lineage of long song singers, Erkhembayar’s 2017 debut, Mongolian Song, featured traditional compositions with sprightly jazz arrangements, while 2021’s Ursgal comprised nine original songs. On Ulaan, Erkhembayar produces the most singular vision of her Mongolian jazz music yet, through 10 new compositions of scat singing, atmospheric soundscapes and acoustic instrumentation blended with her yearning voice.
    Opening softly on the rolling toms and bowed bass of Zuud, Erkhembayar’s vocal is meandering yet insistent, building to a crescendo before skipping over the syncopated Latin rhythms of following number Tavishral. Her graceful, airy tone continues over the finger-picked guitar of Duulnaa and mirrors the warmth of woodwinds on the title track, bringing to mind melodically-nimble jazz contemporaries such as Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens.

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  • Goethe Institute Popcast

    An extraordinary work full of beauty and sublimity

    Mongolian jazz singer Enji recorded her third album Ulaan in Unterföhring's Mastermix Studio for the unique Munich-based Squama label. As with the previous album Ursgal, the predominantly quiet compositions combine traditional Mongolian music, language and storytelling with contemporary folk and jazz. On this release, she expands her trio to include two Brazilian musicians on clarinet and drums, who enrich the stylistic spectrum in surprising and fascinating ways. An extraordinary work full of beauty and sublimity.

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  • Enji

    Born and raised in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, Enji lived in a tiny yurt with a working-class family. “My parents worked every day, the whole day, for the city,” Enji says. “They love to sing, but they don’t have any passion for music. I was a bit different.” Ever supportive, her parents encouraged her to do whatever felt right for her, even if it meant eventually leaving Mongolia. “It was a great support from them.”

    • Ulaan

      180g, printed innersleeve

      • Stil:
      € 25
      • Ulaan Colored Vinyl

        180g red colored vinyl, screen printed PVC jacket, printed innersleeve, limited edition of 200

        € 30Sold Out!
        • Ursgal

          180g vinyl, hand stamped innersleeve
          4th repress

          • Stil:
          € 25
          • 031921 5.24 5.53

            Limited 10" dubplate (one per customer)
            Edition of 50. Comes in a letterpress printed and embossed cover with silver printed innersleeve.

            € 30Sold Out!