Bukhchuluun (Bukhu) Ganburged is a Mongolian throat singer who accompanies himself on the morin khuur or horse fiddle. In 2007, he obtained a master’s degree at the Mongolian Music and Dance Conservatory. He moved to Sydney, Australia in 2009. He is regarded as a virtuoso and obtained permanent residence in Australia on a Distinguished Talent Visa.
The following video is labelled “Most unbelievable Blind Audition you’ve ever seen.” This is one time that the video lives up to the hype. Appearing on The Voice Australia 2020, Ganburged sings a traditional piece called Mother and Father The video continues to document his entire journey on the voice. You might want to pause after the audition:
The judges rightly fall over themselves praising Bukhu Ganburged’s remarkable performance. Judge Guy Sebastian commented: “We’ve heard runs and we’ve heard high notes, but we haven’t heard two notes at the same time. That’s pretty unique. He’s the real deal, we’ve got an elite musician …”. When it came time for Ganburged to choose a voice coach, he picked Guy Sebastian. This would prove to be a mistake. In the battle round, Ganburged was paired with the golden-voiced Johnny Manuel.
Sebastian chose Michael Jackson’s Earth for the battle duet. The way he arranged it reduced Ganburged to a backing musician. On the few occasions when Ganburged sang backing vocals, they were barely audible. Ganburged was reduced to second fiddle. There was none of his remarkable throat singing that made his audition so memorable. Judges Delta Goodrem & Kelly Rowland insisted that the battle was unfair. It got very heated, but Manuel went through. Here is some more of Ganburged’s throat singing:
Incredible. What a performer! What a voice! After his exit from The Voice Australia, Bukhu Ganburged was graciousness personified. He told the Daily Mail Australia that he disagreed with viewers who felt he had been set up to fail by Sebastian. ‘I’ve already set up my music career and don’t really care about [The Voice],’ he said. He explained that he’d only gone on the show to raise his profile and that he was happy to have met the celebrity mentors. Meanwhile, Guy Sebastian apologised for his verbal altercation with Kelly Rowland.
Prior to appearing on the voice, Ganburged appeared on the theme song for the video game Total War: Attila (Sega, 2015). In May 2016, he was featured at the Sydney Opera House as part of TEDxSydney. In 2017, he took part in the This is a Voice exhibition organised by the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences at the Powerhouse Museum.
Ganburged is a keen collaborator and is known for questing with the groups Equus (which fuses traditional Mongolian music with Middle Eastern strings and jazz rhythms) Horse and Wood (a duo with oud player John Robinson), and Dangerous Song (a new age duo that performs as AYA when Ganburged joins in.
Subsequent to The Voice Australia, Bukhu Ganburged has released his second album (The Journey, 2021) and featured on tracks by Danny Avila and Bjorth. He has also recorded two sets of vocal and instrumental samples, called the Chronicles of Bukhu (2021) and Lores (2022), for the Native Instruments Kontakt sampler.
Whether or not you think that Bukhu Ganburged was stitched up in the Battle Round of The Voice Australia, I’m sure you’re glad to have encountered his throat singing and morin khuur playing. I know I am.