So, a program was planned for after lunch at the ger camp, and the Director had requested early in the day (via an interpreter) that I open the program with a song, and I agreed….although there was no guitar to be found. We were all munching away and suddenly on the handheld megaphone I heard something that sounded like my name – all eyes on me – time to go up to the front! I quickly swallowed my food and wiped my mouth….
And, folk music fans, what do you think I sang? What would YOU sing in Mongolia? And how would you introduce it, when most of the group did not speak any English at all?
Well, it had to be Stewball! “Stewball was a racehorse”……I slowly introduced it, saying it was a song about a racehorse named Stewball, who only drank wine — great murmurs of appreciation as they said yes, like us, today! So I sang the song into the megaphone, with very exaggerated gestures so that they might be able to imagine the race….
“and way up there yonder, up ahead of them all, came a dancin and a prancin my noble Stewball….”
All of the teachers seemed to enjoy it whether or not they understood any of the words….For my part, I had a little shiver of emotion as I sang the song since it was, truly, the perfect song for the highland steppes of Mongolia….I’ll remember that moment from now on whenever I sing Stewball.