This article combines conceptual history and musical ethnography to tell the story of yazguur (meaning "authenticity" or "originality"), a pivotal concept in late socialist Mongolia that continues to inform cultural heritage discourse and policy today. The seminal music researcher Badraa first proposed this notion in the 1970s as a translation for folkloristic and primordial "authenticity" in a bid to assert the cultural sovereignty of Mongolia under Soviet hegemony. However, his cohorts, such as the xöömeich (throat singers) with whom I have consulted, also resignified the term through their own discursive and performative practices that hinge upon pastoral custom and aesthetic propriety with baigal' (nature, existence). So, what does authenticity really mean when it departs from its Eurocentric sources, when actors begin holding its meanings accountable to the poetics and politics of indigeneity? One possible answer to this question lies in attending to what resemble sustained modes of global "entanglement" (more so than dichotomous "appropriations" and "encounters") through which circulating concepts become local sounds and sentiments.


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pp. 37-69
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