Nature Ganganbaigal, multi-instrumentalist and frontman of Mongolian folk metal collective Tengger Calvary, has died at age 29, Billboard can confirm.
The circumstances surrounding his death are unclear, but in a statement released through MetalSucks, his bandmates “grew suspicious when he did not show up for a pre-show rehearsal last weekend.” They explained: “We also had a video shoot scheduled, so for him to miss that was a cause for suspicion. [We] had been collaborating with friends of his in Austin since that time.”
The full statement reads: “It is with deep sadness and shock that we must share the news that Nature has passed away. Nature’s greatest goal in life was the unite people of all backgrounds through community and through music. He was also an advocate for mental health, and encouraged everyone from friends to total strangers to persist through their struggles. Though we have lost a dear friend and a great artists, we know that his music will live on and continue to help us find our common ground and find our strength despite adversity. Please respect the privacy of Nature’s family during his painful time. May the Eternal Blue Sky find him at peace."
Tengger Calvary made a splash in the U.S. back in 2015 after landing a gig at New York’s prestigious Carnegie Hall. After that, they did five U.S. tours within two years and released two EPs and two official albums. Ganganbaigal exhibited his unbelievably strong work ethic by leading the band through these ventures all while making ends meet with long shifts at UPS.
When premiering their song “The Struggle” in 2016, the frontman told Billboard, “‘The Struggle’ is very different from all the other Tengger Cavalry songs, because this one is a very personal song that expresses inner strife. We usually write songs about nomadic culture and traditions like horses and war. In life, we all deal with a crisis of faith or a massive life challenge, which is what ‘The Struggle’ is about: a person trying hard to put themselves back together when confronting a meltdown. Musically, we used a Central-Asian melody to articulate the [sorrowful] part.”
During this prolific time in the band’s career, Billboard also premiered their lyric video for “Ashley,” a track from their 2017 album, Die on My Ride. Ganganbaigal noted that while the band’s previous releases “revolved around historical and traditional themes, this record [talked] more about an individual’s perspective about struggling, challenges and opportunities.”
Ganganbaigal also became frustrated and depressed around this time, due to the intense workload and an unexpected legal issue that had risen with a former business partner. After a few more rough months and more legal stress, the artist decided to disband Tengger Calvary. His label at the time, Napalm Records, was supportive.
Once the quintet disbanded, Ganganbaigal moved to Austin, a place that reminded him of “those chill times [he] spent on the grassland” in Mongolia, he toldBillboard. Shortly after, he traveled to Tibet before going back home to Beijing.
After reconnecting with loved ones and helping a friend train a 3-year-old horse on a farm, he felt newly inspired by nature and decided to reunite Tengger Calvary and bring in other nomadic folk musicians from Beijing to record with them.
The result of this experience was their song and video for “Heart.”
After the release, Ganganbaigal moved back to New York with a clear head, ready to work on the band while also trying to work with more Mongolian musicians, all in a relaxed manner.
Their most recent full-length, Northern Memory, Vol. 1, was released in March followed by the EP Northern Memory (Vol. 2) in May.
Ganganbaigal was also one of the prominent voices in metal to contribute to the soundtrack for the upcoming video game, Doom Eternal, alongside members of Aborted, Immortal Bird and Black Crown Initiate.